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Is this place still active?

Discussion in 'Never Ending Stories' started by blackheart, May 21, 2015.

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  1. bombshoo

    bombshoo Never mind...

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    I actually don't agree with azale on this...and I find it a little stupid that nobody has said what I think really happened, as it's quite obvious to me...Normally I stay out of this sort of trivial political nonsense on here, except I don't really see what happened to this forum as something of that sort. What happened to this forum?

    We got older. Originally, most of the primary creators were people mostly in the 16-23 year old range. As we graduated high school and college, we became involved with significant others, our own personal projects, money, grad school, jobs, etc. It happens. That's life. It's not a bad thing.

    I don't think there's any coincidence that the primary people on IoT are a few years younger than the original NES users. You might be able to attribute the lack of interest here to an "elitist attitude" or something, but I think the simpler answer is just random variability. IoT got more users, which meant more users, which stacked. That's that. I think anything else is an after the fact explanation/justification. The two games were never really that different.

    As for the chat, yes we are a very tight knit group, but I don't think we're any more unwelcoming than any other group of good friends that have known each other for over ten years. As a new person, it really might might be hard to integrate on there, but that's not elitism or anything. It's just a fact of life. People who are close to each other are going to care more about each other. In no way should any of on there apologize for being close to each other.

    As for the site administration and the fallout. I personally think that's rather irrelevant. It happened and led to a loss of activity in this subforum, but the truth is that was going to happen anyways.
     
  2. Azale

    Azale Deity

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    you must really think iggy is stupid

    I agree with all of this, and your last point is proved by the success of NES's on the IOT forum + the enthusiasm for developing these games shown by the IOT community.

    Wargames and "fill in the map with u color" type games were around in NESing for a long time before more sophisticated games came along, for better or worse.

    While you're right that I over attributed the death of the forum to site admin, the little bursts of NESing/althistory activity that come from us old men on #nes would probably be posted around the NES subforum if it wasnt for them. Site administration killed any enthusiasm for organizing anything on this particular subforum.
     
  3. Crezth

    Crezth 話說天下大勢分久必合合久必分

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    This indicates such a profound misunderstanding of what transpired that I feel compelled to remark on it. While the "rebellion" was the push out the door that pardoned us from the need to provide cursory posting activity in the community, it was a long time before that that any real progress or accomplishments simply halted. That is not to say that there were not many a pitiful half-measure or excuse meant to give the impression of real activity, but mostly all it ever was was musing and harp-string plucks. And maybe that's not such a bad thing, but let's not lie to ourselves about what it was. Even now, we exalt the rare and forsaken personality type that could "run" these "games," and the great insight we have on their extinction is that we just got too old for it. And yet, not all of us got too old for video games, chatting on chatrooms all hours, and playing D&D (a matter of great investment, both in time and effort, but mysteriously a much more enduring phenomenon than our supposed shared hobby).

    In other words, despite getting too old to have time to NES, we didn't get too old to engage in other acts of frippery and playful diversion. I know many former NESers have gathered new obsessions in absence of NESing with equal or greater the intensity. So why did we forsake NESing? No, I don't think we merely got too old; and I wouldn't dare suggest we got wiser, either. I think the answer was among us, demanding to be revealed, and yet we ignored it and got lost in our petty squabbles as we failed to grasp the true nature of the phenomenon that drew us together. "What is a NES?" We failed to answer this question satisfactorily. The uncertainty, the discomfort inherent in that uncertainty, that came from not knowing the answer - that is what killed us, more surely than any symbolic rebellions, any feuds among us. Such things normally strengthen a community; steel it, focus it and give it purpose. For a brief and shining moment, when we came together as a community as we never had before to reject utterly the petty tyranny of this website, we had that clarity and it made us unstoppable. And we stood at the threshold of the new world, open to us as long as we had sense enough to reveal our covenant to one another and to our combined heritage. But the moment passed, and our grand edifices eroded in the wind.

    Perhaps, indeed, it was never about this, the "classification problem." Maybe that was only the expectation of we few who demanded what couldn't be given. But I don't think so. All that even the smallest and most disparate of communities needs to stand against incredible odds is a compact - a mission. At the end of the day, we all couldn't even agree why we were logging on, and "to NES" was not good enough. So it is indeed fitting that #nes has gone to those who remain content to enjoy each other's company, for it has long since ceased to be a place of "NESing," for such a thing cannot even be really said to exist.
     
  4. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Retired Moderator Supporter

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    Nicely said. :)
     
  5. thomas.berubeg

    thomas.berubeg Wandering the World

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    And... what was EOE? What was BOTWAWKI? What was Our Terrible Purpose? What was Age's Beginning? What, really, was my NES, then, if none of these indicate Activity?

    Honestly, EoE itself was the most in depth NES run here, and had been running for years with no signs of slowing at the end.
     
  6. Crezth

    Crezth 話說天下大勢分久必合合久必分

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    Indeed, what were any of those things? What did they have in common? Why did NESers play them, why did NESers stop playing them, how could they be described to an outside observer? I appreciate what you're trying to do, but surely you must realize what a hollow claim it is. Do you think anything was built on the day Rome fell? I surely think so, and yet Rome still fell; and more importantly, was preparing to fall long before it finally did. Those few noble carpenters working on the eve of the apocalypse did not change the fate of their civilization. As for the rest of us, we failed to meet the destiny that people like you prolonged. What were any of those things? If I had to describe them, lacking the formal language for describing NESes which we never bothered to create, I'd call them "life support."

    And to suggest EoE had not been "slowing" towards the "end" might be the most boringly, technically correct claim yet made in this thread. EoE might not have been slowing, but it was always slow; the infinite patience of its proctors ensured it would survive nevertheless. I admit I'm not sure if it transcended forums and became an intellectual exercise on #nes, but like everything else it certainly died in the end.

    You should realize that when I lambaste the lack of activity around these parts, before or after the fall, it is not meant as a barb or jab but as a truthful, if cynical, description of circumstances. I have certainly delivered several barbs/jabs aside from that notwithstanding, but these are the efforts of a wounded ego, not necessarily the product of critical analysis. After all, I being a part of this, our failures are my failures as well.
     
  7. Luckymoose

    Luckymoose The World is Mine

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    I see a lot of complaining about a lack of activity, but not a whole lot of things worthy of activity. Run something if you want. Run something as big as EoE, and you'll get activity. To say other activities taking time is equal in effort to a major NES is a foolish statement. Even playing in something on that scale requires more investment than many are willing to commit, or have the time to. Defining NES was never an issue, as the subgenres defined themselves, Symphony. Labels don't make games great nor players drawn. Run something people give a half-damn about instead of spending all your effort bashing a dead horse for being in your way. The path isn't blocked. You seem to be, though.
     
  8. bombshoo

    bombshoo Never mind...

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    This still seems like some sort of overly complex explanation based on metaphysical ideas compared to what I really think happened. Maybe it's my own bias, but I never really cared what an NES is. I frankly don't see why this question is even important. A user posted stuff on the forum and either people agreed to the conditions of the game and took part or they didn't. Sure, we generally had a geopolitical theme going on here, but that was hardly necessary and I don't ever remember anyone being angry about someone else merely for trying to start a game. At worst, a new mod might find his idea under criticism or just ignored.

    When I said we got older, I didn't so much mean that we moved on because we grew out of the games. I'm still very interested in this as a hobby and would actually take part in one if I could. I don't think it's so much that most of us lost interest entirely as much as it was our priorities just changed. Hence why so many of us still have time to dabble around or talk on the chat but not necessarily the energy or commitment to run or play in a game.
     
  9. Lord of Elves

    Lord of Elves Suede-Denim Secret Police

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    We always have to hear from these transcendentalist fanatics who intend to transform us all and make some kind of millenarian (sp?) cult of the subforum :rolleyes:
     
  10. Crezth

    Crezth 話說天下大勢分久必合合久必分

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    It almost seems tedious to explain the value of taxonomy to you, so I won't. Instead let me illustrate my point by addressing the concern about time investment: why, indeed, does NESing seem like such a taxing investment? Why is this the case when it is so often the case that all that is really required to "participate" in a NES is craft 15 minutes' worth of orders? How many times were update postponements requested because people failed to do this? And why do moderators feel like it's a lot of work to maintain these worlds?

    My theory is that it is because people take the necessary task of micromanagement upon themselves instead of delegating it out in a systematic way. Allow me to use tabletop roleplaying games to illustrate my point. In games like D&D or Pathfinder or GURPS, it is taken for granted that operations are facilitated by a set of standardized rules proctored by a moderator. Participants are able to fully grasp the logic of the game because that very logic is laid out before them in all its naked splendor, and understanding this logic is crucial to making informed decisions in the context of the game world. Why exactly is the long sword different from the short sword? We can describe both of them qualitatively, but it is their quantitative differences that allow us to exercise judgment in choosing between them.

    Compare this with a type of roleplaying game with rules that are "simpler" or leaner, like Mini-Six or Savage Worlds or similar. Minimalist gaming, which seems to imply minimalist worlds, but in fact the worlds these games attempt to portray are not actually simpler than the worlds of GURPS - it's that the duty of regulating and divining the logic of the worlds is now distributed among the independent entities participating in it. Without a tome to reference, it is the will of the players and the arbitration of the moderator that dictate the logic of the world. Forget, for a second, about "balance" - I am talking far more fundamentally about knowing that X is X and understanding X's relationship to Y and Z. Thinking players make these queries in every game they play, and when there isn't a manual to reference, they ask the moderator or assume for themselves (using their vaunted common sense) the answer. Having this understanding is fundamental to all decision making in a roleplaying context.

    In NESing, a formal set of rules or descriptions are crucial to absorb some of the blow of the players' query. Without this, the moderator's arbitration is key - and on the scale that NESes occupy, this becomes an enormous task. The time investment goes through the roof. What I am saying is that it does not have to be that way. Sure, if NK is ever-pleased with holding EoE on his shoulders like a NESing Atlas, I don't have any issue with that. But NK is the exception, not the rule. Not all people are capable of managing a world like that without facilitating systems. When I say NES has refused to evolve, refused to learn about itself, I mean NES refused to invent the facilitating systems that would make NESing a sustainable hobby rather than an exponentially increasing chore.

    The function of a ruleset or game system is to take some of the tasks of world cipher off the moderator's shoulder. You are right that in a NES there is quite a lot more of this to be demanded than with a D&D played in hourly sessions every weekend, but if anything that should illustrate how much more important it is that we do this kind of thing for NES.

    "Well," you might say, "we have made several NES rulesets over the years, all without applying foolish labels to them." We truly have made several NES rulesets over the years: too many. If you want to learn from the past NES rulesets, you need to go dig through them and analyze them yourself, or ask the person who ran the set what their insights were on them. It truly is research of a sort and I realized personally how tenuous this set-up is when I began interacting with the people of IOT. The creative vanguards of that community are reinventing the wheel in so many ways it boggles the mind. It's not their fault, per se, and in the course of doing so they also uncover bold new mechanics with new value, but the crime here is that it should not be necessary.

    I can feel the thread of my thought unraveling so I'll try to wrap this up and get to the point. No formalization in NESing means that there is no formal way to learn from old NESes or understand why what works for one NES might not work for another. Common sense alone cannot navigate these pathways effectively. And so we continually run the same NES with small tweaks and no improvements on what causes us to fail every time. The sole exception to all this is EoE, a minimalist ruleset that grew to encompass a complex world all through the will of its proctor. For the rest of us, who do not otherwise try to imitate NK, as long as we don't understand what we're doing, we cannot engage in the intellectual exercise necessary to improve it.

    The question is important (italicized) because of the phenomenon we don't understand (bolded). I've underlined an example problem that we still haven't resolved.

    In fact I don't believe you "never really cared" what a NES is. If that were so, why did you keep playing NESes and not, say, something else? This one's a freebie: if you can answer this question clearly, you have already taken your first step towards defining a NES.
     
  11. Lord of Elves

    Lord of Elves Suede-Denim Secret Police

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    ... and our enemies shall talk themselves to death in their confusion
     
  12. Azale

    Azale Deity

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    Crezth, stop talking like a pretentious ********. Jesus christ, you put all this effort into your posts but the way you type them you must not actually want anybody to read or respond to them.

    Moderator Action: Please watch the language. Changed the word.

    Yes, standardization of NES would be nice, final DNDization of NES might produce more regular content. People tried it, it's a herculean task in itself because there is more back end work required and updates are more time consuming & less engaging than running a typical DND session.

    Either a major transformation is required, which could happen I guess with some sort of live updating system that totally upends what "turns" and "orders" are, or we need to be content with the NESing pattern of a couple successful games in a sea of failed projects.

    Also, why the hell cant we just talk about this in the chat were we can get it done in like, a few hours, rather than stretch out the debate over weeks. I mean, if you have NESing's best interests at heart.
     
  13. Crezth

    Crezth 話說天下大勢分久必合合久必分

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    It looks like I've struck a chord. The tone of your response tells me that you logically cannot deny the truth of what I've presented, and yet you lash against it out of an instinctual fear of that very truth. [/supervillain]

    It doesn't matter if it's a Herculean task to standardize NESing much less run a NES if the people involve have a passion for it. A minute spent shooting hoops is identical to a minute spent doing nuclear physics calculations provided the actor enjoys the action. This is why I am suspect of all claims that our interests "changed;" no, rather, I think people only realized how much they didn't like doing that work. They needed a new system that would give them what they liked about NESing but ignored the frippery otherwise. When I see Thlayli struggle to launch his NES, I don't see a man who lacks passion - I see a man who lacks tools.

    And it should go without saying that before we can build these tools, we need specifications; and before we can provide specifications, we need definitions. The work done to advance these frontiers is the work that will make NESing possible again. Of course it won't be easy, but nothing worth doing ever is.


    And as for my pretentiousness, well, Azale, I'm sorry but your opinion means very little to me.

    Moderator Action: Please do not try to evade the autocensor. Word changed.
     
  14. BSmith1068

    BSmith1068 Deity Retired Moderator

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    I certainly have a point of view over the happenings of the past few years in the NES forum, most of which I will keep to myself as I see little point in rehashing old business.

    Hosting a NES or an IOT (and for all practical purposes they are the same thing) takes a huge amount of dedication, vision, time, and skill. It is rare that someone possess all of these attributes in sufficient quantity to successfully manage the full life cycle of a game. This is the primary reason why most games have such a short run, or even fail to get off the ground.

    I hosted Iron and Blood Redux back in 2011. I know firsthand how much goes into running a game, and I didn’t even come up with the map or the ruleset – it was essentially a carbon copy of the original Iron and Blood with a few minor tweaks. I&B had a pretty solid and fairly rigid rule-set, which to Crezth’s point should help to mitigate player questions and back and forth with game mods. It still took me six to ten hours to produce an update, even with extensive tools behind the scenes to assist with stat updates and battle resolution.

    I updated on a weekly schedule – quicker updates were just not possible given the need for time to update and also to allow effective diplomacy and interaction by players. Longer update timeframes lead to less player engagement and game momentum. By most standards IBR was a successful game, but it did not go to completion. I was unable to continuously devote the needed time and energy to do the game justice and had to end it after ten (I think!) updates.

    Six to ten hours a week, condensed into one or two days, was just too much time to devote given my real life responsibilities (kids, wife, job, etc.). And this was for a game that should be fairly simple to host – well defined stats, proven ruleset, player base that is familiar with the game concepts, etc.

    Over the years since those real life responsibilities have only grown. (It is the main reason why I retired as a moderator here on CFC). I have looked to join games that interest me. I prefer games where actions through game updates vs. long personal narratives mainly drive the flow of the game. Unfortunately the games that I have chosen to join ended up being stillborn before the first update, but not before some emotional investment on my behalf in getting into the world and game setting. Over time I have just come to not even join in the first place, as I would rather spend my time and energy on pursuits that will actually happen. There is nothing worse than really getting into a game to have it end very prematurely.

    All this to say that NES/IOT starts with a solid game hosted by a solid GM. Having all the qualities that make a good GM is rare, and I would argue becomes harder as we get older. Stillborn games and false starts by GMs that don’t possess all of the skills only leads to disillusion and cynical perspectives that are hard to overcome. This contributes to lower participation overall, less new ideas, and failure to attract new players that would be solid GMs.

    Thus begins the cycle of decline that can only be overcome by new and exciting games that attract true participation. Not promises of good things to come. Not false starts and teasers that only reinforce the disillusion and cynicism. Actual, real, ongoing games that encourage participation. Games that make people want to invest their emotional capital with little risk of being burned. Games that make people actively seek out and want be part of something cool because it is more compelling than all the other distractions we face. That, frankly, is what has been missing from NES for a long time.
     
  15. Luckymoose

    Luckymoose The World is Mine

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    I agree with you, BSmith. I do declare hell frozen over. When people like Crezth state that orders take "fifteen minutes" he's discussing a particular type of low participation gaming. Even when you state 6-10 hours to update, that's on the low end of updating time sinks. Neither includes the hours of time spent dealing with stories, diplomacy, generally cooperating with other players that comes from mod and player before and after an update. Even in the bare minimum of what most NESers would seek in a full NESing experience the time commitment is fairly substantial.

    Let's take EoE as an example, here, since Crezth seeks to minimize its importance (and for some reason wants a standardization that would completely negate the brilliance of dozens of such unique projects [how many hours went into daftpanzer's projects?]). I know for a fact that orders did not take 15 minutes. Mine took days; other players took even longer. We're looking at 10+ hours in just composing them, not counting writing tens of thousands of words of stories, collaborating on orders, content, etc. that adds another 30+ hours easily per update. Then look at the updates themselves, including the prose, maps, stats, etc. and you'll find that North King literally spent whole weekends, for months at a time, doing the hard labor required to churn that out.

    You can't standardize that and maintain what people loved about it. That amount of commitment shouldn't be frowned on, but celebrated. We did that for six years. We wrote entire novels worth of fiction, collaboratively. All the updates combined, alone, would make a thousand page book. Let's not be dishonest about effort put in. Some NESes you can do 15 minute orders, and nothing else, but it won't be a deep, connected experience. The fun comes from the order of magnitude more time invested in interacting, roleplaying, writing, etc. that is being ignored here.

    There is no catch all ruleset that'll make NESing as easy as a boardgame. Cause at its heart, NESing is not a boardgame, but a roleplaying game. The example of DnD is never going to work, because unless you're ignoring the roleplaying aspect, or DM fiat, that experience is not reproducible between any two tables of players.

    Proper NESing is hard work by dedicated people, and we should never look down on that for not being fast enough.
     
  16. Lord of Elves

    Lord of Elves Suede-Denim Secret Police

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    What Lucky said.
     
  17. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

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    It can't be denied that the censoriousness of the mods and their "everything MUST be fair" mentality gradually hurt, and then abruptly killed, NESing for the content creators who mattered.

    I don't include myself in this, since I was annoyed at the mods but wanted to stay, but this policy, applied both to forum debates and the 'inclusivity rules,' created a rift between the moderators and the forum community that nobody ever cared to repair.

    The mods could also have saved the forum by simply appointing someone who was part of the "revolting" group, and I offered my opinions on who I thought deserved the post long ago. Instead, they chose EQ, who nobody asked for, and he ultimately reigned over a dead forum and retired.

    Talk about cycles of decline all you want, but this forum didn't end with a whimper. It ended with a bang. Personally, I wouldn't have committed forum suicide over the mods defending Amon Savag's advocacy of violence against the government, even though I found his opinions disgusting. But they did, and the die was cast.
     
  18. Crezth

    Crezth 話說天下大勢分久必合合久必分

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    For the record, if your argument is that NESing's legacy is secured by a single murky narrative supported by people who wouldn't even give their "stories" more than zero editing passes, then I wholly and firmly reject that legacy. "Hard work by dedicated people," indeed! There is such a thing as working smarter, not harder.

    But I think it's all an act, anyway. Now that NES is gone, you laud EoE as the height of all accomplishment, even though during NES's hey-day you played in and participated in the muckish dice-rolling "games" you're now content to dismiss as not true to NES's mission statement. Of everyone in this thread, I respect you most for picking a position and standing by it, but don't even act like you didn't play in EQ's games for the thrill of competition, for the bloodrush you felt when you dominated your enemies. The success of our efforts was not a function of flowery creativity but of determination and a will to succeed, common attributes of those who play to win. And what was overwhelmingly the largest complaint levied against EQ? A lack of transparency - but it was not merely transparency that was the problem, it was plausibility - the ability to infer the state of the world using logic and understanding. It was the connection between the player and the game world that only existed when we used EQ as a cipher, that was where it all fell apart.

    I should hardly have to say it, but any and all arguments from plausibility are simulationist arguments. That is NESing's legacy, to me: the effort to simulate a world on a grand scale that players can immerse themselves in. You can praise EoE for this all you want, but I played witness to far, far too many complaints about "fairness" in the course of that NES to ever completely believe that all you cared about was narrative.
     
  19. Lord of Elves

    Lord of Elves Suede-Denim Secret Police

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    At the end of the day NESing is either chosen and blessed and has a mission, as Crezth keeps implying, or we can all go about our lives and choose freely to be in NESes. I leave it to the reader to decide whether we ought to achieve salvation through forum gaming, or continue as hobbyists.
     
  20. Luckymoose

    Luckymoose The World is Mine

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    First, that's some hefty ordure you're flinging there. Was that the case earlier and in some situations? Sure. Was it the case in the final couple of years where the vast majority of the best collaborative writing and content creation in NESing history occurred? No, not even close. But you'll spew whatever to win, so let's leave it at that.

    Second, I did play in EQ NESes, multiple times, and don't deny it. Did I do so with a complete enjoyment? Hell no. Did I gain pleasure from witnessing open railroading for some players, lack of plausibility, ignoring of orders, stories, etc.? Hell no. And I know you didn't either, cause we talked about it during and after. But let's pretend otherwise, since that's your modus operandi. Let's pretend that the only reason some of us were playing wasn't because it was what everyone was playing. Let's pretend individuals who remain unnamed didn't play the entire NES to troll others. Let's pretend there was even a semblance of similarity in CI/ABNW/TWTUD and EoE. Nah, we can't, cause we know better.

    Third, let's go deeper. Let's argue here that a board game in the vein of CNES was ever the same experience as EoE (again, I use this example because it's the most well-known example of that genre, though countless others existed and failed). In your line of reasoning CNES, a standardized experience, should have run smoothly, on time, and with limited issues. Now, what happened? It didn't. Why? Cause some people wanted more out of it, but you didn't follow through. Some people wanted narrative, and you shunned it in favor of the "game." Now, what did we gain from that besides a colossal waste of time that also failed anyway, despite it being mostly standardized and automated?

    Fourth, you say there was competitiveness in the nature of EoE. Sure, I won't deny that. But it wasn't a "my numbers are bigger" type. It was territorial. Hard work promotes attachment. People who put in the effort wanted their voices heard, and for the most part that was matched. Were there issues? Sure. What complex, multiplayer experience run by a single human being is free of those? Even your automated efforts and attempts to define NESing as a standardized experience doesn't go without major issues. If it were issue free, you and others would actually be capable of running NESes on the scale and length of something akin to EoE, but you haven't. Didn't the latest EQ NES (that isn't fallout fanfic) manage to implode based around players being unable to cope with even a fraction of simulated geopolitics? Come on, folks, it isn't a competition. I matured into the gamer I am over many years and much work, and many others did as well. There is a major difference in trying to win as if you're playing a hand of poker, and trying to win by providing the most immersive experience you can. DND isn't about the individual winning, but about the group having fun. The groups that like experiences like EoE, tried to maintain that. Did we have gripes? Did we get personally attached in the projects we spent years working on? Absolutely, cause we're not damn robots running spreadsheets and throwing dice.

    What you want NESing to be matters little to everyone else. Same as what I want it to be. We all have our favorites and try to bring some of that to each new game we join. You can't please everyone, so stop trying. You can't define a rose in a way that is objectively beautiful. I like pink, you like green, who cares. That's the end of it. Try to fill your own niche and run a successful game in it rather than bringing everyone down in some overzealous effort to save a thing that doesn't need saving.

    It was always folks having fun. You can't mandate fun.
     
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