This is Audio EXP for the 15th of January 2022, and the title of this episode is “It’s a proper leak this time”
[The following is a transcript of Audio EXP: #131]
As If Productions is in the spotlight this month, as voted for by Patreons.
I’m in touch with Tod at As If Productions, and they’ve agreed to a Q&A. Great news. I promised to get questions over quickly, and that wasn’t a few days. Once again, dear listeners, I’m being a bottleneck.
It’s gaming night tonight, so, yeah, I clearly can’t do them today but perhaps tomorrow!
It’s kinda weird sharing my day plans like that on a podcast; I don’t suppose you care that I sometimes game on a Saturday. It’s not a secret, though.
It’s not a secret like, oh, the contents of Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse once was.
Those leaked this week, and it’s a leak that is unlike the very many recent ones we’ve had.
Typically what happens is that a partner to Wizards of the Coast has something on the public web ahead of the official news. Usually, it’s a retailer with a placeholder for the book. Wizards have been wisely giving retailers marketing information to put into that space. Instead, it’s a great way to manage geeks like us who are great at spotting things online.
The Monsters of the Multiverse is much more severe than that and should worry Wizards of the Coast greatly.
Someone with impressive access to the Mordenkainen Presents project effectively walked YouTuber Nerd Immersion through the book. There are generous and detailed photographs from the virtual tour.
This isn’t an unwelcome aspect of the eCommerce process. This leak is a betrayal of trust by someone close to the heart of Wizards of the Coast.
Someone who might do this again and, if not caught, are likely to.
Furthermore, it sets up a process. If, as I suspect, Nerd Immersion protects their source, then he’s established as a safe place to leak to. It’s easy to get in touch with them as well.
We’ve seen this happen in hardware, especially around smartphones. Once the go-to-people are established, people go to them.
I’m not saying Nerd Immersion was wrong to run the story. I’d be a hypocrite if I said that, and I like the buzz and the news. There’s even a tiny chance WotC is behind this all.
I don’t know why the leaker had for their decision to share the project early. Maybe they can defend that decision.
But I know that Wizards should be worried because someone close to the team has access to secrets they can’t keep.
Or, do you think I’m weighing this more seriously than I should? You can always pop on to the Discord, which is still in soft launch, to chat about it.
A recent tweak on the Discord is the addition of a “curated inspiration” channel to find cool discoveries. The idea is that some finds might inspire game ideas, so we’ve had glowing tentacles in nature, concept smartphones and the growing scientific theory that random mutation that kickstarts the evolution process might not be so random after all.
All content that, I hope, is worthy of discussion.
A site that’s had problems with discussions is Tabletop Simulator.
At your tabletop, you might chat with friends or find a consensus about what sort of topics are okay for discussion. My main gaming group talks about everything, especially politics. I’m also part of gaming clubs where we avoid that as there’s more disagreement and more need to stay focused on the games at hand.
Tabletop Simulator has a global chat, making it very hard to find consensus. The debate this week was about moderators banning people when they mentioned they were gay or transexual.
These moderators argued that the actions were either part of an automated script as such keywords are usually only used as insults in global chat or that global chat was no place for such discussion topics.
Tabletop Simulator has disabled global chat to investigate because, at the very least, mentioning you’re cis-het didn’t get you banned, and so something was clearly wrong there.
However, there is a thing about visibility. Why should people have to hide who they are? Some cultures have successfully gotten to the point where it’s okay for women to have their ankles seen in public.
I’m from one and here in Scotland, and it’s mindblowing to imagine that at one point, it would have been outlandish for a woman’s ankle to be seen in public. It’s also weird that society believed men couldn’t restrain themselves if they saw such a delicate part of a body.
Women shouldn’t have to hide their body, or who they are; they can do whatever they like as long as no one else gets hurt. Right?
Surely the same applies to all forms of identity? If part of your identity is that you fancy women, why do you have to hide it? No one else is being hurt by that preference or by you making it public.
I’m sure people will disagree, and some moderators at Tabletop Simulator seem to be holding firm. I’m also sure we’ll see this debate raise its head again in 2022.
In fact, we might see it in the anime community. And frankly, this community is fairly mixed up, too, with sometimes contradictory opinions around what’s acceptable and what’s not.
Crunchyroll’s editor-in-chief conducted a survey census of all the simulcasts from 2021 and found most of the shows were set in Japan, had fantasy elements, and the hero was a guy two-thirds of the time.
However, 3% of the time, the hero was non-binary.
I was expecting lower, to be honest, and I’m not expecting that count to move quickly. While 3% was more than I feared, it might not be high enough, as the same survey says that 2% of characters were slime monsters and 2% robots, so at least a slime or a robot identified as either male or female.
And if this podcast is getting too politically correct and not-geeky enough for you, let’s correct that.
Games Workshop released a financial statement this week which, oddly, said they’re not interested in being politically correct.
I think, though, they meant they didn’t want to virtual signal. Games Workshop indicates that they want to do what they believe is right, get on with it and get on with making great games.
The company want to do their bit to save the world in the climate crisis, hire and keep the right people and have appointed a new Head of Social Responsibility and Sustainability.
And perhaps some changes are needed. Brexit cost the model maker £2m in the last six months alone because trade is now much more complex from the UK.
Games Workshop also reports that their e-commerce is down 10%, and they point out that customers can buy, and do buy, minis from non-Games Workshop owned sites.
I don’t get to talk to Games Workshop’s board but, if I did, despite the extra margin they’ll make on first-party sales, I’ll still urge them that a successful trade business is not to be considered a bad thing.
I do sometimes worry what Games Workshop will or will not allow. They’ve not got a great history in supporting fan projects.
However, for now, there’s The Old World. That’s a fan-made project which, I’m told by the team running it, follows Games Workshop’s rules for fan projects.
The Old World is now over 100-pages long, full of original art and converts Warhammer to Edge Studio’s Genesys RPG system.
That’s a big beast of a fan project, and since they follow the rules, you need to know a bit about Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay to use the rules. If that’s you, I think it’s worth checking out.
Another in the “worth checking out” file is a powerful video from The British Heart Foundation.
On one level, the video is all about raising the charity’s profile.
On another, it’s just a powerful and emotional hit. It’s about the near future, such as 3d-printing hearts, and how we can turn sci-fi into reality.
It’s a good video for geeks. If you work in science, if you’re an early adopter or supporter of tech, then you’re helping out.
On the topic of helping out, let’s look at the charity bundles.
On Itch, there’s Solo But Not Alone 2.
There are 101 solo RPGs on offer here for a few bucks, and money goes to support Jasper’s Game Day.
Many listeners will have heard of Jasper’s Game Day, and that’s a sign that they’re doing good. They’re a suicide prevention group, and we see that in the theme of Solo But Not Alone. Talk to them.
In the Bundle of Holding and from Arc Dream Publishing, there’s a collection of One-Roll Engine games like Godlike and Wild Talents. I think you get the idea of One-Roll; it doesn’t take many roles to sort things out. There’s also a collection of third-party Mork Borg content such as Vaults of Torment, Box of Shadows and Fisk Borg.
At Humble, which is making changes to its subscription model this month, there’s 3d-printable and some paper dungeon and town terrain from Fat Dragon.
Lastly, do you fancy $20 to spend at the DMsGuild? That’s a worldwide competition running on Geek Native for the next week or so.
And on that note, let’s wrap there; good luck in the competition, and see you next week.
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