Removing mainline campaign(s)

Discussion among members of the development team.

Moderators: Forum Moderators, Developers

User avatar
nemaara
Discord Moderator
Posts: 290
Joined: May 31st, 2015, 2:13 am

Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by nemaara »

So recently in the past month, it's come to my attention that the new drake campaign, Wings of Victory, has many major issues. I'll preemptively apologize for not reviewing the campaign more closely earlier (prior to adding it), which I really should've done before. However, based on other peoples' comments and my own review, I think it's in a state where it has to be removed.

For me, the biggest issue I have with the campaign is how female drakes are portrayed. In WoV, female drakes are only ever referred to as breeders and treated as objects for various "Dominants" to be gifted or to take. Even the way they are referred to seems to treat them as nothing more than objects, with examples being:
You would fight to take what is mine when you have breeders of your own and unclaimed lands are in abundance? Such an attack is a violation of the Ways of Morogor!
and
In the aftermath of the battle, the breeders from the Flight of Kerath were found and brought to the eyrie. All the other drakes from the flight were executed for the treacherous attack, save one.
Even in the first scenario, there's an example of a classic fantasy trope of "protect the women and children", a la
speaker=Gerth
message=_ "The damned wyrms have found us! Send the women and children to the caves. To arms, men."
followed by actively changing all female enemies to males. Finally, Galun's whole portrayal and attitude, as well as the terminology used in the campaign (e.g. Dominants, being "gifted breeders", etc.) gives me the impression of a stereotypical "alpha male" setup.

I'm very concerned about this type of misogynistic portrayal, where females are either relegated to hiding in caves (S1) or being nothing but breeders (elsewhere in the campaign) and the "dominant male" in Galun is more or less glorified. I do not think this type of portrayal has a place in mainline, and I hope that we as a dev team are not trying to promote these types of themes in our game. I think we should be aiming to develop our mainline in the opposite direction, that is, subverting traditional sexist themes rather than glorifying them. The presence of WoV hurts this immensely.

While the above was my personal biggest concern, there were also other issues that arose when I was discussing the campaign with others. While WoV's scenario design starts out reasonably, it eventually devolves into a series of "defeat the enemy leader scenarios", with scenarios 5-12 all following that objective to the letter. Without any twists, this does not make for very engaging or involved gameplay and I think is not up to a reasonable gameplay standard for mainline.

Another complaint has been that the unit variety in WoV is very low, which, combined with the lack of healers in the Drake faction, does not make the campaign very fun to play. The removal of the Clasher line in the middle of the campaign, for example, may provide extra challenge, but I think this is a questionable decision given that Drake unit variety is already not very high to begin with.

In terms of overall storyline and Drake portrayal (beyond only the unacceptable misogynistic approach), the sequence of scenarios starting from S5 have Galun and co. meet various factions (Wesnoth humans, nagas, elves) and do nothing more than choose to fight them and try to eat them on sight. This portrayal to me sounds very barbaric and simple-minded, with Drakes having a "see enemy, kill enemy, eat enemy" mindset. The only exception is the Saurians, but even there, Vank's reasoning for allying with them is that they would make "terrible game". I do not think that mainline should have this kind of Drake culture.

The resolution of WoV also poses a problem, because historically, the "Way of the Drake" (as portrayed in the campaign) was to conquer other lands for themselves and eat the "game" present in said land. Galun's edicts, however, state that they reaffirm the "Ways of Morogor", which suggests that he hasn't learned any moral lesson at all by the end of the campaign, only that they should "avoid dangerous game" because they present a direct threat to the Drakes themselves (and also contradicts the first edict). In the in-game world, I think this type of solution would be incredibly short-sighted and would not really change the Drake way to allow them to coexist with other races. The third edict of "long sleeps to cut food requirements" also does not adequately explain how the Drakes intend to curb their original behavior because creatures cannot simply choose to hibernate or not. Either an animal does hibernate or it doesn't (i.e. if they're facultative hibernators, it would have already been instinctive to them, but if they're not, they cannot simply choose to become like that). In short, I don't think Galun has made much believable progress by the end of WoV, and the plot hole of how Drakes go from eating other sapient races to coexisting with them is not resolved properly.

In light of all this, I think WoV should be removed from mainline. I think there are fundamental problems with the campaign that cannot be resolved without rewriting large parts of it, and we should not include the campaign as it stands.

User avatar
vultraz
Community Manager
Posts: 958
Joined: February 7th, 2011, 12:51 pm
Location: Dodging Daleks

Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by vultraz »

WoV has been removed.
Creator of Shadows of Deception (for 1.12) and co-creator of the Era of Chaos (for 1.12/1.13).
SurvivalXtreme rocks!!!
What happens when you get scared half to death...twice?

User avatar
doofus-01
Art Contributor
Posts: 3861
Joined: January 6th, 2008, 9:27 pm
Location: USA

Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by doofus-01 »

I hadn't thought about WoV in a while, but I do vaguely remember this stuff being discussed at the time. It was years ago, before anyone had heard of an incel, I think I just figured it some weird thing, like this:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triplewart_seadevil
Why that would be good for a fantasy race, who knows?
More relevant for Drakes, there are common lizards that reproduce via parthenogenesis. Only one gender needed, we could keep it nice and simple.

There are several venerable UMC campaigns for drakes, are any of them worth considering? This post seems relevant:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=48497&p=631256

Flight to Freedom is older than most mainline campaigns, and I know the author of Brave Wings could write a good campaign. I don't know anything about the others, but a drake campaign has been a wish for a while, there is probably something there.
BfW 1.12 supported, but active development only for BfW 1.13/1.14: Bad Moon Rising | Trinity | Archaic Era |
| Abandoned: Tales of the Setting Sun
GitHub link for these projects

User avatar
nemaara
Discord Moderator
Posts: 290
Joined: May 31st, 2015, 2:13 am

Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by nemaara »

doofus-01 wrote:
January 2nd, 2020, 3:35 am
There are several venerable UMC campaigns for drakes, are any of them worth considering? This post seems relevant:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=48497&p=631256
I think we should wait a bit until trying to mainline another campaign. If and when my SP rework gets approved, I think I'll be able to show in more detail why I think we need campaigns that form set plotlines (rather than a hodgepodge of disconnected events). Then, we'll be able to see where Drakes might be able to fit in.

User avatar
SigurdFireDragon
Developer
Posts: 488
Joined: January 12th, 2011, 2:18 am
Location: Pennsylvania, USA

Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by SigurdFireDragon »

This post is my reply to the reasons given for WoV's removal.
How it was handled is a separate post in the moderators' forum.
nemaara wrote:
December 30th, 2019, 4:20 am
I'll preemptively apologize for not reviewing the campaign more closely earlier (prior to adding it), which I really should've done before.
nemarra's own words from the conversation on discord on 2019-04-02 seem to contradict this.
Some of those words are:
nemaara aka Yumi on discord wrote: only meh
and we have "bad" already in mainline
imo it passes the bar
it's just not great
and
nemaara aka Yumi on discord wrote: it adds an interesting bit of history to the drakes
and it plays okay
And others.
(For the start of the relevant discussion, search for "are we sure this is a good campaign to add?" on the discord dev channel
or in the irc log of the channel at https://www.wesnoth.org/irclogs/2019/04 ... -04-02.log )
Also note that there was a general consensus that it was good enough at that time.
So it looks like nemarra has suddenly decided (to use a sports metaphor) to advocate for calling back the field goal and then moving the goalposts.
nemaara wrote:
December 30th, 2019, 4:20 am
However, based on other peoples' comments and my own review, I think it's in a state where it has to be removed.
That statement assumes it cannot be fixed in a reasonable amount of time. I disagree with this. And it seems there is plenty of time since the next dev release is unscheduled and no target for 1.16.
nemaara wrote:
December 30th, 2019, 4:20 am
For me, the biggest issue I have with the campaign is how female drakes are portrayed. In WoV, female drakes are only ever referred to as breeders and treated as objects for various "Dominants" to be gifted or to take.
WoV has been a finished add-on for over a year, with feedback threads, several project/forum members have played it, and the PR adding it was open for almost 8 weeks. AFAICT, this is the first time this concern has been brought up. The proper way to handle something like this is to leave feedback for the maintainer.
As for the point raised, if it is considered cause for concern, one way it could be dealt with would be to move drake females completely offscreen, similar to how orc females are currently handled.
nemaara wrote:
December 30th, 2019, 4:20 am
Even in the first scenario, there's an example of a classic fantasy trope of "protect the women and children", a la
speaker=Gerth
message=_ "The damned wyrms have found us! Send the women and children to the caves. To arms, men."
followed by actively changing all female enemies to males.
Compared to the previous point, this one is so minor as to almost be insignificant. It is one line of dialog, with code to ensure the gameboard matches the dialog, so as not to break the experience of playing the game. It is depicting a situation where the humans in question are in a fight for survival, and need strategies akin to ancient hunter-gather tribes to maximize their chances of long-term survival. Also, it’s just one line of dialog! It could easily be removed! So the assessment of that line seems to be mischaracterizing what is going on and how significant it is.
nemaara wrote:
December 30th, 2019, 4:20 am
...there were also other issues that arose when I was discussing the campaign with others. While WoV's scenario design starts out reasonably, it eventually devolves into a series of "defeat the enemy leader scenarios", with scenarios 5-12 all following that objective to the letter. Without any twists, this does not make for very engaging or involved gameplay and I think is not up to a reasonable gameplay standard for mainline.
Again this is contradicted by the April discord conversation, ignores the fact that the campaign could still be improved (stated in the discord conversation), and seems to be a moving of the goalposts.
nemaara wrote:
December 30th, 2019, 4:20 am
Another complaint has been that the unit variety in WoV is very low, which, combined with the lack of healers in the Drake faction, does not make the campaign very fun to play. The removal of the Clasher line in the middle of the campaign, for example, may provide extra challenge, but I think this is a questionable decision given that Drake unit variety is already not very high to begin with.
Each faction is different in playstyle and number of recruits. Drakes are one of the least beginner-friendly factions and have the lowest number of recruits. If the logic here is accepted, then that creates an unnecessary higher barrier for mainlining a campaign for them.
Saurian healers are available in the final 1/3 of scenarios.
The clashers were removed for story reasons for two scenarios only, and they would be totally useless in one of those scenarios and it's obvious when playing it. So the situation has been mischaracterized, and in a rather unfair way.
nemaara wrote:
December 30th, 2019, 4:20 am
The resolution of WoV also poses a problem, because historically, the "Way of the Drake" (as portrayed in the campaign) was to conquer other lands for themselves and eat the "game" present in said land. Galun's edicts, however, state that they reaffirm the "Ways of Morogor", which suggests that he hasn't learned any moral lesson at all by the end of the campaign, only that they should "avoid dangerous game" because they present a direct threat to the Drakes themselves (and also contradicts the first edict).
This is a misreading of what’s going on. “Way of the Drakes” is how they interact with other species/game; “Ways of Morogor” is how the drakes interact with each other. So there is no edict contradiction. So, again, a mischaracterization. Also, drake morality was intended to be different than humans.
nemaara wrote:
December 30th, 2019, 4:20 am
The third edict of "long sleeps to cut food requirements" also does not adequately explain how the Drakes intend to curb their original behavior because creatures cannot simply choose to hibernate or not. Either an animal does hibernate or it doesn't (i.e. if they're facultative hibernators, it would have already been instinctive to them, but if they're not, they cannot simply choose to become like that).
Seriously?!?! This is a fantasy game. For non-humans, as long as it is plausible enough, and nothing contradicts it, it can be made to work. And there's not much about it in the campaign. Comments like this give me the impression of reaching in order to find something negative.
nemaara wrote:
December 30th, 2019, 4:20 am
In short, I don't think Galun has made much believable progress by the end of WoV, and the plot hole of how Drakes go from eating other sapient races to coexisting with them is not resolved properly.
Invalid, given the misinterpretation of the edicts.
nemaara wrote:
December 30th, 2019, 4:20 am
In light of all this, I think WoV should be removed from mainline. I think there are fundamental problems with the campaign that cannot be resolved without rewriting large parts of it, and we should not include the campaign as it stands.
IMO, Invalid, given the number of misinterpretations made and that there are reasonable solutions to many of the issues above.


Given that nemarra has stated reviewing it twice, once back in April & again recently, and taking into account the quality of the recent review:

I get the impression that immediate removal was decided as the objective, which then went looking for reasons, found a few things that seem reasonable to address, then proceeded to make the case for immediate removal look far more impressive than it actually is by adding various mischaracterizations, in an attempt to justify said immediate removal.

Either that, or nemarra did a really poor job of making a fair & accurate assessment of WoV.

vultraz wrote:
December 30th, 2019, 4:28 am
WoV has been removed.
Shockingly quick, given the concerns about how quickly AOI was removed, and that WoV has an active maintainer.

User avatar
vultraz
Community Manager
Posts: 958
Joined: February 7th, 2011, 12:51 pm
Location: Dodging Daleks

Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by vultraz »

First off, I agree we did not give WoV a proper review while its PR was open. That's on us. That being said, reevaluating a decision, especially a creative one, is in no way unusual.

I'm not going to go into details about any particular discussion, but I can tell you the decision to remove immediately was mine. Nemarra even wanted to wait a bit. We didn't go looking for a reason to drop WoV, but once these issues were brought to my attention I decided it best to simply drop the campaign. Wesnoth has a tendency to fail to act when no firm decisions one way or another can be reached, and I really did not want to spend days arguing back and forth as to whether point A or B or C was a valid reason for removal or not. The portrayal of female drakes isn't something I deemed could be solved without significant rewrites, and with the other points raised (bland gameplay, etc), I decided to just ax it. Whether other people played the addon and saw this as a problem or not is irrelevant. We don't want to promote such portrayals. Were this a less serious issue, I would not have dropped it immediately.
Creator of Shadows of Deception (for 1.12) and co-creator of the Era of Chaos (for 1.12/1.13).
SurvivalXtreme rocks!!!
What happens when you get scared half to death...twice?

User avatar
Pentarctagon
Forum Administrator
Posts: 4243
Joined: March 22nd, 2009, 10:50 pm
Location: Earth (occasionally)

Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by Pentarctagon »

If females are portrayed only as objects, wouldn't that make it very easy to fix? From nemaara's examples, you can even just straight remove the reference and the sentences still make sense:
You would fight to take what is mine when you have breeders of your own and unclaimed lands are in abundance? Such an attack is a violation of the Ways of Morogor!
In the aftermath of the battle, the breeders from the Flight of Kerath were found and brought to the eyrie. Aall the other drakes from the flight were executed for the treacherous attack, save one.

Any other problem is low priority by comparison, and could have been worked on over the next year or more until 1.16.
99 little bugs in the code, 99 little bugs
take one down, patch it around
-2,147,483,648 little bugs in the code

User avatar
loonycyborg
Windows Packager
Posts: 278
Joined: April 1st, 2008, 4:45 pm
Location: Russia/Moscow

Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by loonycyborg »

vultraz wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 4:04 am
Wesnoth has a tendency to fail to act when no firm decisions one way or another can be reached, and I really did not want to spend days arguing back and forth as to whether point A or B or C was a valid reason for removal or not.
People have tendency to act like that only because they rightly fear making a wrong decision if they act without thinking and actually checking things. For example I would expect someone responsible for mainlining campaigns to play the campaign in question to completion at least once before making a decision. Or at least delegate the decision to someone who did. So it's not a matter of endless argument, but rather lack of time to put into checking things.
"meh." - zookeeper

User avatar
esr
Retired Developer
Posts: 228
Joined: November 26th, 2006, 6:40 pm
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Contact:

Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by esr »

I got a message on IRC about the deletion of these campaigns. I was involved in the adaptation of AOI for mainline and wrote much of the background lore for WOV, so I have some stake in the matter.

As a general thing, I don't necessarily object to campaigns being removed for low quality. I produced half a dozen campaigns for mainline and wrote one (The Hammer of Thursagan) outright because I though it was good for the game to have more story content. I adapted AOI in particular because I thought first contact between the races of the Great Continent and the Orcs would be an interesting bit of color. But if it's not up to the artistic standard of other campaigns I can't really object to it being repaired or removed. The quality of my productions varied and I would be the first to admit that AOI was not the best of them.

On the other hand, I object very strongly to what has been done to WoV. The whole point of that campaign is that Drakes are *not* humans in lizard suits. As with the Dwarves in THoT, I sought a way to make them different in in psychology from humans in a way that would create a feeling of discovery in the player when he or she finally understands just how unhuman they are and what that implies. THoT is intended to work a bit like an SF novel, in which you gradually come to understand how the Dwarves' emphasis on witnessed events and their horror of masks fits into a larger model of how their minds work. I wanted to do something like that with WoV, too.

In the case of the Drakes I was influenced by Larry Niven's Kzin. I gave them non-sentient breeder females and a culture/biology far more centered on territoriality and dominance than any human society exactly so they *wouldn't* be humans in skin suits. Their alien-ness. and how this works out in the Wesnoth setting, is the whole point. It's part of the setup for the reveal that they're neotenous and dragons are the true adult form.

Censoring this because it is supposedly "misogynistic" is...beyond stupid. It's politically-correct [censored] that cramps the entire imaginative universe of the game. Are we no longer allowed to write or imagine aliens that don't conform to current ideological fashions? And if we aren't, why stop there? Wesnoth is a game about war and killing - if we're going to fuss about "misogyny" shouldn't we delete the game entirely for valorizing violence?

I will be extremely disappointed if WoV is not reinstated *with* the deleted text about the breeder capture. The reveal that this is how their society works because their biology is what it is, is important. It's structure like that which gives an imaginary world depth, rather than being merely a shallow collection of stale tropes.

User avatar
Iris
Site Administrator
Posts: 6632
Joined: November 14th, 2006, 5:54 pm
Location: Chile
Contact:

Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by Iris »

esr wrote:
January 6th, 2020, 10:45 pm
I will be extremely disappointed if WoV is not reinstated *with* the deleted text about the breeder capture. The reveal that this is how their society works because their biology is what it is, is important. It's structure like that which gives an imaginary world depth, rather than being merely a shallow collection of stale tropes.
Then you will be disappointed.

"Political correctness", however you want to define it, is not a guiding principle in the game's design. After all, it is a fantasy setting primarily inspired by medieval Western Europe, with the major exception of the pervasiveness of religion. Nobody in the dev team has ever tried to force "political correctness" into unusual places, to my knowledge. The closest thing I can think of is the orchestrated retconning of a male Highwayman character in Liberty into a female leader, and you were involved in that, in fact.

On the other hand, we've also purposefully avoided depicting in excessive detail all the brutality that comes when pitting multiple brutish factions against each other, refraining from getting graphical and crude about what really goes on during battles and raids. Despite having all the tools at our disposal to enrich fights with blood and gore, we haven't done so either. Whether on purpose or simply as a tacit agreement, we've always tried to keep the game accessible to a wide and diverse audience that won't feel alienated by the game's content. Hopefully nobody's going to decide now, after over 16 years of development, that this was done in the name of "political correctness" and that it's holding us back.

With this in mind, the appeal of making one of the major races comprising Irdya's roster alien and unrelatable to the point of concern and disgust falls flat on me, and this is speaking as someone who has deliberately pushed the envelope in her own content a few times. It's not just about fictional characters and peoples having flaws that people consider stereotypical for the genre, it's about how through writing the cast of WoV comes across as the pinnacle of male dominance fantasy; with a flat lead character who completely falls short of the — strangely contested — expectations nemaara and others are trying to establish for Wesnoth's writing going forward, and the establishment of Drakes as a society where females are explicitly and completely reduced to nothing but the means for their reproduction, and without any canon-compliant way around it. Even if we leave aside the problematic aspects of making this a major defining characteristic of a faction that is occasionally shown in a heroic or at the very least respectable and honorable light, and the fact that it makes people uncomfortable for those same reasons, the crux of the issue is that it all reeks of B-movie writing material.

There are a lot of ways to make creatures obviously non-human. You can do it explicitly, or implicitly — in practice the second tends to work better for our audience since it doesn't feel like exposition insulting the reader's intelligence. It also means that you don't need to rely on a single point of failure for the delivery, which is exactly what's going on here and why even I would have much preferred to see a different solution to this than WoV's removal — unfortunately, in the form of a campaign that would be completely different to what you intended as an author.

We can do better than portraying drakes (and by proxy, dragons) as animalistic aliens whose existence on Irdya is entirely centered around how much they put everyone off in and out-of-universe and don't fit into the setting's themes in any way whatsoever beyond their ability to speak English and kill things with manufactured weapons.
Author of the unofficial UtBS sequels Invasion from the Unknown and After the Storm.

User avatar
SigurdFireDragon
Developer
Posts: 488
Joined: January 12th, 2011, 2:18 am
Location: Pennsylvania, USA

Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by SigurdFireDragon »

vultraz wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 4:04 am
...but I can tell you the decision to remove immediately was mine. Nemarra even wanted to wait a bit.
That says that nemarra knew that removal would happen when writing the post and still chose to make said post, and write it in that particular way. And through actions, rendered the words of 'even wanted to wait a bit' meaningless.

vultraz wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 4:04 am
The portrayal of female drakes isn't something I deemed could be solved without significant rewrites...
I get the impression vultraz hasn't really reviewed it now either, and just took nemarra's word that it can't be solved without significant rewrites. Ironic, given that nemarra's word in favor of adding the campaign was part of the consensus he relied on back in April.
I say the portrayal could be solved, simply by removing the references to them. Examples of how that could work have been given. AFAICT, the only ones making the assertion that 'significant rewrites' are needed to solve that particular issue are vultraz & nemarra.

vultraz wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 4:04 am
We don't want to promote such portrayals. Were this a less serious issue, I would not have dropped it immediately.
Even assuming it is such a serious issue, I can't see a good reason why that would be sufficient cause for immediate removal & throwing out the notion of 'respect for project members and giving them a chance to address issues with their work'.
@Vultraz: Perhaps you can explain?

User avatar
esr
Retired Developer
Posts: 228
Joined: November 26th, 2006, 6:40 pm
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Contact:

Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by esr »

Iris wrote:
January 7th, 2020, 1:04 am
Hopefully nobody's going to decide now, after over 16 years of development, that this was done in the name of "political correctness" and that it's holding us back.
If you don't want me - and others - to make that judgment, perhaps you should stop speaking and behaving exactly as though it is a true one. Just using phrases like "pinnacle of make dominance fantasy" and adjectives like "problematic" pretty much locks that in - that sounds like every bitter and destructive PC rant ever.

If I had known this game was going to fall under the control of censorious bluenoses who think our players have no capacity to engage with challenging material and have to be coddled, I would never have put years into improving it. Have you not read your Bettelheim? The dark, sometimes fear-inducing parts of fantasy are important; that discomfort is valuable, it's a goad to thinking about who we are and how we narratize the world.
Iris wrote:
January 7th, 2020, 1:04 am
a flat lead character who completely falls short of the — strangely contested — expectations nemaara and others are trying to establish for Wesnoth's writing
I did much of the worldbuilding for WoV but I didn't write most of the campaign prose. In what had been the normal course of events I would have gone back and worked it up to the standards of at least a middle-grade modern fantasy novel, as I did for so much of the other content. I didn't; I left Wesnoth development for unrelated reasons while WoV was at an early stage of development.Had I given WoV its normal prose rework it is quite doubtful anyone would be describing the writing as "flat". Maybe you haven't been around long enough to know this, but if you tried to compile a list of the ten best story panels in Wesnoth and dug into the revision history it would probably turn out that I wrote or heavily reworked nine of them.

(Um, except for TRoW. I barely had to touch that one; the author was a really fine prose stylist, as good as me and possibly better.)

So yeah, "flat writing" is in part my fault for not being around. I'd be OK with "flat writing" being fixed. But punching up the writing is a different kind of intervention from sinking the campaign because some collection of precious snowflakes thinks it's "problematic". That disgusts and revolts me - it's either cowardice or outright evil, an Orwellian wrecking ball that will eventually leave nothing artistically worthwhile undestroyed.
Iris wrote:
January 7th, 2020, 1:04 am
We can do better than portraying drakes (and by proxy, dragons) as animalistic aliens whose existence on Irdya is entirely centered around how much they put everyone off in and out-of-universe and don't fit into the setting's themes in any way whatsoever beyond their ability to speak English and kill things with manufactured weapons.
So, Orcs are also going to be erased from the setting? And necromancers? And everything that a fragile person might consider "evil" and "offputting"? Because "we can do better"? What a pale, boring, dessicated nerf-world that will be.

No. You are dead wrong. We can't "do better" by applying PC filters that are not only extrinsic to fantasy but opposed to the qualities that give it deep appeal. The wonder. The terror. The alien and sometimes discomfiting. Yes, Orcs eat human flesh, because the narrative function of orcs is to *be the threatening other* - the brute, the fear-bringer - just as the narrative function of Elves is to embody the human fascination with art, beauty, and grace.

Fantasy races are like eigenvectors of human pyschological complexity, isolating and exaggerating one aspect so we can haul it out and give it a good narrative look-see. Which is why even if the Drakes really were nothing but a "pinnacle of male dominance fantasy" there would be nothing wrong with that. The healthy response isn't pearl-clutching, it's to have lots of other dreams and eigenvectors in the setting.

Anybody who doesn't understand this has no damned business being a showrunner for Wesnoth.

User avatar
Pentarctagon
Forum Administrator
Posts: 4243
Joined: March 22nd, 2009, 10:50 pm
Location: Earth (occasionally)

Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by Pentarctagon »

Well, do drake females serve any useful or interesting purpose in WoV? If not, then what's the point of arguing about political correctness and so on? If they can be deleted entirely without any further changes being needed because their presence or lack thereof has no impact at all on the story, then it's just poor writing to put something like that in there and then do nothing with it.
99 little bugs in the code, 99 little bugs
take one down, patch it around
-2,147,483,648 little bugs in the code

User avatar
Iris
Site Administrator
Posts: 6632
Joined: November 14th, 2006, 5:54 pm
Location: Chile
Contact:

Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by Iris »

esr wrote:
January 7th, 2020, 2:45 am
If you don't want me - and others - to make that judgment, perhaps you should stop speaking and behaving exactly as though it is a true one. Just using phrases like "pinnacle of make dominance fantasy" and adjectives like "problematic" pretty much locks that in - that sounds like every bitter and destructive PC rant ever.

If I had known this game was going to fall under the control of censorious bluenoses who think our players have no capacity to engage with challenging material and have to be coddled, I would never have put years into improving it. Have you not read your Bettelheim? The dark, sometimes fear-inducing parts of fantasy are important; that discomfort is valuable, it's a goad to thinking about who we are and how we narratize the world.
Your statement works both ways, because that's exactly what you decided to do the moment you decided to mention "political correctness".
esr wrote:
January 7th, 2020, 2:45 am
Maybe you haven't been around long enough to know this, but if you tried to compile a list of the ten best story panels in Wesnoth and dug into the revision history it would probably turn out that I wrote or heavily reworked nine of them.
I have been a mainline developer since late 2007, not long after you became one, in fact. You can spare me the history lesson.
esr wrote:
January 7th, 2020, 2:45 am
So, Orcs are also going to be erased from the setting? And necromancers? And everything that a fragile person might consider "evil" and "offputting"? Because "we can do better"? What a pale, boring, dessicated nerf-world that will be.
If you had paid attention to my post you'd have realized that's exactly what I'm saying we aren't going to do, ever. Instead you decided to turn this into a political discussion before I even responded in the first place.
Author of the unofficial UtBS sequels Invasion from the Unknown and After the Storm.

User avatar
vultraz
Community Manager
Posts: 958
Joined: February 7th, 2011, 12:51 pm
Location: Dodging Daleks

Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by vultraz »

There's nothing that says you cannot have challenging material in writing, but material is more than how it is presented. If you put a character in a story that constantly says the N word for no reason and you say it's there to "push boundaries", then, well, you're wrong. That's just an excuse to use the N word. You do not "challenge" by punching down. You "challenge" by punching up. I am more than happy to have deep, complex campaigns in Wesnoth. What we do not need are undeveloped, uninteresting portrayals that do little to set us apart from the myriad of other fantasy properties that utilize these tropes.

And sigurd, I really would like to know where you got that quote. I don't recognize it from anywhere, and you seem to be advocating for it as a guiding principle when it has never been a thing we guarantee. Yes, Wesnoth is a game that relies on volunteers, but that doesn't mean everyone's work ultimately gets used. I spent months on an engine refactor that will never see the light of day. When you're making decisions about the direction of a project as a whole, sometimes plans need to be changed. That doesn't mean we don't appreciate work done before.
Creator of Shadows of Deception (for 1.12) and co-creator of the Era of Chaos (for 1.12/1.13).
SurvivalXtreme rocks!!!
What happens when you get scared half to death...twice?

Post Reply