23 February 2001

The Devil’s Advocate
In this world, there lies a place for the devil and his advocate.
In my own life I have often played the part of the devil’s advocate in discussions. Sometimes it is done to point someone at a flaw that they do not see. Other times it is done just to force the person to show that they have actually thought of everything.
There are people who are good at being the devil’s advocate. They know when their job is done, or when they simply just aren’t getting through and further arguing is pointless.
Some, however, are not good at it. They turn simple flaw exposing into nay-saying. They extend the argument and drag it out if only to say “It’s not going to work. Can’t you see that?”, even when they no longer can show exactly why.
My patience for nay-sayers is thin.
I admit that sometimes I can be blinded when someone is telling me, and more importantly showing me where my ideas won’t work. But when someone who doesn’t know me at all, and has not bothered to speak to me about the issue goes out in public shouting at the top of his lungs that I am going to fail, it hurts. And when they refuse to listen to me and keep shouting that I will fail, not that I might fail but that failure is a forgone conclusion, I get angry. And as Dr. Banner said to Mr. McGee, “Don’t make me angry, you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”
The specific case here is with EverQuest, game that I love. I am finally stepping up and leading a raid of one of the Alternate Planes, The Plane of Air (or Sky). I have spoken to a great many people about this zone, and of all the ways to do it. But in the end I decided that while I would keep their advice in mind, I wanted to actually try the zone from front to back and maybe incorporate a little winging it. See, the major thing is, Verant, the game designers, intended this zone to be done with a team of 24 people. this is evident by the fact that when you clear any part of the zone, you get 24 keys to the next part. Now, people have found ways around this, and it is how most people do their raids. I decided that the first rule of my raids would be to limit it to 24 people. One thing I did require was that I wanted 4 clerics, one for each group. Beyond that, I didn’t care who came, I would just build the groups as best I could and we would give it a wack.
One of the people who signed up then proceeded to tell me that we should cancel it, or kick people out and get other people (people who couldn’t be bothered to volunteer and sign up). I told him no, explained my goals with the raid and invited him not to come should he have problems with those goals.
At this point, I would have expected him to either shut up and come along, or shut up and walk away. Instead he continued to explain to me how I would fail if I didn’t listen to him, all the while neither saying if he was still coming, or leaving. He hinted with a “Maybe I won’t go” kind of line but didn’t say he wouldn’t go.
I’ll be the first to admit, my first responce to him was harsh, but only because instead of talking to me in private, he posted all of his doubts in public (I find this to be a cowardly tactic). But the continued nay-saying, insisting that we would fail pushed.
I hate losing my cool.
In the end, all I can say is that people play this game for many reasons. And there are hundreds of ways to achieve even very similar goals. I acknowledge that in others, and I take offence when they refuse to acknowledge that in me.
sigh
As for EQ in general. Comments from a good friend today coupled with some feelings of my own have lead me to a long awaited decision…
No, I’m not quitting. As long as its fun, I won’t quit. But the time has come to focus both my time inside EQ and without. I’ll pick a few days a week that will be EQ days, and everything else will be up for grabs.
I leave you with this… This Time of Year by Better Than Ezra.
Well, there’s a feeling in the air
Just like a Friday afternoon.
Yeah, you can go there if you want
Though it fades too soon.
So go on, let it be.
If there’s a feeling coming over me,
Seems like it’s always understood this time of year.
Well, I know there’s a reason to change.
Well, I know there’s a time for us.
You think about the good times
And you live with all the bad.
You can feel it in the air,
Feeling right this time of year.
Well, there’s a football in the air,
Across a leaf blown field.
Yeah, and there’s your first car on the road,
And the girl you’d steal.
So go on with yourself
If there’s a feeling that there’s something else.
Seems like it’s always understood
This time of year.
Well, I know there’s a reason to change.
Well, I know there’s a time for us.
You think about the good times
And you live with all the bad.
You can feel it in the air,
Feeling right this time of year.
Well, there’s a feeling in the air
Just like a Friday afternoon.
Yeah, you can go there if you want
Though it fades too soon.
So go on, let it be.
If there’s a feeling coming over me,
Seems like it’s always understood this time of year.
Well, I know there’s a reason to change.
Well, I know there’s a time for us.
You think about the good times
And you live with all the bad.
You can feel it in the air,
Feeling right this time of year.

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