Goblin’s End

Gevlon is calling it quits.

While some will undoubtedly be celebrating the end of his blogging, I will not. Certainly, we disagreed constantly, and I find his politics abhorrent generally. Nevertheless, his ironclad comment curation (and threat of a ban) forced me to file down my typical rhetoric and argue on the point. The ideal was to get down to an armor-piercing response, with zero distractions. Didn’t always work, but the challenge honed my craft.

As for the reason for his farewell post:

Players no longer need to be any good to progress. They just have to log in and open their wallets. The morons and slackers who couldn’t clear Karhazan back in the day, now clear all the content, because it’s tailored for their pathetic performance. They don’t have to learn anything to succeed, so learning became “tryhard”. They became the dominant culture in gaming. Being any good became “elitism”. “Gamers are dead” is the new slogan among developers. And don’t even get me started about mobile crap.

As a result, any kind of good information is rejected and actively hated. When I found how to get to the toplist of PUBG, all I got were downvotes and hate from the “community”, for ruining their “fun” of mindlessly killing each other. When I disproved the bizarre conspiracy theory that baddies made up in World of Warships to explain their defeats, I got banned from the game’s subreddit. And let’s not even mention CCP Falcon and his antics.

There is no more point in trying to play well, so there is no point writing about it. […]

In short: a decline in social validation.

Gevlon argues that games no longer require skillful play, thus no one appreciates “good information” that challenges their assumptions anymore. But what asocial scientist cares about the appreciation of an audience? Beating Ulduar in blue gear or getting to the top of the PUBG toplist by a verifiable and repeatable method is a validation by reality. There is no greater an arbiter for one who derives truth by experimentation.

To be sure, the difference between a blog and a journal is an audience – some measure of recognition is required to be the former instead of the latter. A casual stroll through Gevlon’s comment section though, will reveal plenty of fans. Just… not as many as in his heyday. And in an ironic twist, his unnecessary lurch into right-wing politics not only reduced his potential audience, it left him with precisely the sort of readers who care little about facts and truth in the first place.

Some games have indeed become more accessible to players of varying skill levels. Lootboxes and exploitative game design are definitely a thing. But WoW still has difficult raiding at the top levels, same as always. Dark Souls and “git gud” is still a prevailing culture in many corners of the internet. In fact, when is the last time anyone has remarked that so-and-so is elitist? That title is pretty much exclusively used on scientists trying to avert disasters and improve peoples’ lives.

Hey, wait a minute…

Ah, well. Gevlon has been blogging damn near daily for a decade, and likely inspired thousands of people to improve themselves, one way or another. He certainly inspired thousands of blog posts at a minimum, including this one. So… thank you for the content. Enjoy your retirement.

Posted on February 28, 2019, in Commentary and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. More likely, he was finding it harder and harder to sell his ‘success’ in games, because the data showing otherwise was becoming more and more available.

    Was he successful in WoW during the welfare epic days of WotLK and beyond? I guess so (wasn’t aware of him then). But being rich or successful in WoW at that time wasn’t an accomplishment, since by then the game was designed for everyone to be successful. Still, it was a story he could tell without damning facts showing otherwise.

    Did he succeed in beating Goons in EVE? No, obviously. Was he rich by EVE standards? Again, no, as shown by the wealth Lenny put on display during the Casino Wars. But did he make decent ISK with ‘clever’ marketing (human botting) in stations? Maybe, hard to prove with the data available. So EVE made for good stories, because while some of the hard facts exposed his lies, there was enough hidden that he could keep it up for a long time.

    Did he outright fail to achieve anything in LoL? Yes, and there is plenty of open data to show that, so he couldn’t lie his way past anything like he tried in EVE. He ragequit that quickly, despite LoL being a perfect game for what he was looking for (mass market, competitive, established meta, zero P2W).

    Did he fail to ‘change the meta’ in PUBG, in large part because he almost never won and his ability was laughable lacking? Yes, and again all of the data is there to see. It’s why that game didn’t last either, again despite it fitting what he was looking for in terms of blog content.

    Even his Warships posts ran into the problem of data disproving his statements, and Warships is far more niche and not something the vast majority of gamers even care about, which as we know is critically important to Gevlon and his craving for attention.

    It’s not that gaming has changed, or even that blogging has changed. It’s that in most mass-market competitive games today, there is plenty of hard data you can’t run from. If you play 1000 games and make zero progress because you are playing like a dummy, people will see it, and you won’t be able to lie and rant about corrupt devs or whatnot to tell a tall tale.

    And when lying and playing the victim is what you built your entire brand on, it’s hard to keep going when anyone with ten seconds to Google can find out your full of shit. (Although as you correctly point out, 10 seconds of Google is still too much of an ask for his core audience)


    • I can’t speak much for the other games, but Gevlon was certainly an “influencer” back in the WoW days. Indeed, I would say that most of his initial audience originated from his very successful AH strategies, which were freely explained during a time when the status quo was selling them as $37 e-books. Hell, that’s how my own blog started (minus the selling).

      Aside from that though, his two most successful social experiments were clearing Ulduar with a raid team in blues-only (zero epics) that used no voice communication, and the Wintergrasp strategy of ruthless raid-leading. The latter sounds silly, but it worked at snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, and Blizzard ended up patching it out of the game once enough people caught on.

      Regarding PUBG, I think his experiments proved the winning strategy in those battle royale games is opposite of the reason many people play in the first place, e.g. hiding until the very end vs actively hunting people. He did win on occasion, and would likely have won more with his strategy if he was a better FPS player. If him getting to the Top 100 just demonstrates the silliness of a leaderboard in the first place, well, he still kinda proved the silliness in a way that can’t be dismissed as crying about it.

      Beyond that… yeah. When you have to limit yourself to non-twitch games that still have strategies to be enacted, the pool of potential games dries up pretty quick.


      • How much stock you want to put into hitting the gold cap in a game where 99% of the audience doesn’t care about gold is up to you, especially when that same someone goes to a ‘real’ economy MMO and can’t crack into the ‘really rich’ club despite spending 4 years obsessively focused on doing just that.

        He didn’t win in PUBG, which is the whole point. He won a shockingly small number of games (in a game where someone afk can win, given enough tries), to the point that his actions reduced him far below the average for wins. As for ‘proving’ the leaderboard was worthless, well the PUBG devs beat him to that by months, and the ranking being garbage was a known fact long before Gevlon started playing PUBG. But that wasn’t what he tried to do, he tried to ‘change the meta’ and show that his method was superior, and with his ‘proof’, he would influence the community. He failed, point blank.


  2. I don’t need validation by reality to blog. I just need to play. I set up a goal and if I win, I’m happy. To spend an hour or two a day to write down my results, you need appreciative audience. And most of them are gone.

    I didn’t regret checking out politics, I regret WRITING about it. No one’s opinion can be changed by a post. Someone who is crazy enough to believe in “systemic racism”, “toxic masculinity” or “basic income” won’t change his mind because a video game blogger wrote something. They only stop reading such posts. They stick to the fake news and keep mumbling “Mueller will stop Trump tomorrow” to themselves (how crazy one has to be to keep believing that after 2 years?!)

    I guess I could reach some of these people by honey and not with stick, by showing them a successful guild instead of just calling them crazy snowflakes. But create in which game? Where do you need a guild at all? The devs realized that guilds are sites of “elitism” so they got rid of it. No one can be gkicked for below-hunterpet damage if there is no guild at the first place.


    • No one’s opinion can be changed by a post.

      The vast majority of the time, no. But I will say that the ample text dedicated to identifying and demonstrating the effects of M&S in gaming over the years certainly caused me to reevaluate the people in my own guild at the time, and make better decisions about my free time. People stay in abusive and parasitic relationships all the time IRL – getting them to drop freeloaders in their guild can sometimes cause them to reexamine what company they keep away from the keyboard too.

      That said, I would nevertheless prefer to live in a society in which breaking my leg or getting cancer doesn’t get me fired and bankrupt. If that means a certain percentage of M&S get a free ride too, so be it. I just won’t bring them with me in a dungeon.

      The devs realized that guilds are sites of “elitism” so they got rid of it.

      I think it was more realization that most people don’t want to bother with the social overhead anymore, especially if it comes at the expense of actually playing the game. Appointment gaming is a chore, especially when you have to (manually!) wade through the nonsense to find groups actually capable of clearing the content. Then you have to hope after weeks and weeks of this that the GM doesn’t go on a power trip, give his girlfriend the epic drop, and/or vanish from the face of the earth.


      • @Azuriel: so you don’t want to bring a freeloader to a video game dungeon but you want a real world workplace to bring it? Interesting.


      • If someone brings negative utility to the workplace, don’t keep them there either. But I do see a moral, ethical, and utilitarian benefit to ensuring that people who need medical care get it, same with food, residence, etc. Again, this should be the case even if one is 100% selfish: most of us (in the US) are one accident or diagnosis away from bankruptcy, even with insurance.


  3. Like I said in my post to Gevlon on his site, he found his niche with his AH/Gold strategies and Blue Raiding posts related to WoW. Where he started falling short(IMHO) was when he started playing games like LoL, WoWs’ and PUBG and trying to enact meta’s of his own making in games that were obviously multi-player, where his own actions stood the chance to negatively affect other players…and they did, on many occasions.

    He now thinks the world is broken, and that he is fine, so I doubt I have to point out the obvious pathology that seems to be creeping in here. I don’t want him to quit, but I do suggest that he takes a break and re-gather his thoughts – for his own sake.


  4. Well, good bye and good riddance. As much as I found some of the points he raised interesting, his analysis has always been a joke of the kind “data must be modified to support the conclusion”. And the conclusion was always the same, there are the bad M&S out there ruining the world and he’s not one of them. You see it also in the reply to this post, where he deliberately ignores all the data on how societies are racist/sexist even when there’s a ton of evidence for it, simply because it conflicts with his world view.
    One of the most interesting things (which is found in many blogs with the same ideas), is how the authors claim to look for skill-based games but then they focus on casual games. I don’t remember him (or any of the others) to try their hand at something like chess or go. Or playing real world economy/finance. My guess is that they’d be roflstomped out of existence if any of them tried and with no way to wiggle their way out….. so they steer clear.


    • Chess and Go are less complicated than multiplayer video games from the point of view of working around numerous other people in order to succeed. They’re significant computational problems, but they do not involve clashes of values and habits that do (or do not) have a bearing on outcomes. At least not in any real sense; we may talk about various grandmasters’ styles, I suppose, but it’s nothing like the kaleidoscope of human psychology found in any old MMO.

      As to ‘real world’ pursuits, meh. I’m sure we could all of us reduce our leisure time and stop playing video games in general, and talk and write exclusively about serious matters with high stakes attached, but that’s not really a Gevlon-specific thing.

      I agree that Gevlon’s political views are fairly disgusting, and rather lazily constructed from alt-right prefab components, but the beauty of data-driven blogging is that you need not have any particular admiration for the source to evaluate the claims. Same goes for the quality of the analysis – at least there was a methodology presented, you could reproduce the process if you really wanted, and you could take issue with it if appropriate. How many bloggers do this, as opposed to making sweeping hot-air statements that amount to little beyond their own opinion and their interpretation of conventional wisdom?

      Liked by 1 person

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