Convention Etiquette 101: How to Avoid Crossing the Line at Comic-Com (Wired.com)

The fact that this article needed to be written is part funny, part sad. It’s a shame conventions that attract attendees who often have first-hand experience of being shunned or feeling ostracized from the mainstream can’t treat each other with basic respect. Alyssa Rosenberg has assembled six very basic, much-needed rules of conduct for “Cons” and other similar events where cosplay is featured. She also includes six suggestions to help combat sexual harassment.

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It’s time for everyone to stop convention harassment in its tracks. Photo: Flickr/Mikemoi

Last week, Wired explored the phenomenon of convention harassment, and how–particularly in the absence of clearly articulated and enforced guidelines–harassment can become pervasive. Sometimes, these unfortunate incidents are the result of misunderstandings about convention etiquette. The social phenomena of large groups can make it more difficult know what the right ways to behave are in situations like conventions that are dramatically different from our homes and workplaces, or to step in when something happens that doesn’t seem right.

But social science isn’t destiny. So what are the boundaries, and how can attendees make sure that they don’t cross important lines of respect with friends, strangers, and even professionals? Here are six tips to help you avoid crossing the line, and six ways to support your friends if they’re being harassed.

1. Ask permission, not forgiveness–and keep your eyes up: Want to take a picture of a cosplayer? Ask, and ask politely, rather than snapping the picture covertly (these are some great suggestions on good and bad times and ways to approach cosplayers, and what you can and can’t ask for). If they say no, then accept that the answer is no–don’t try to sneak the shot in anyway. Under no circumstances should you take a picture that focuses on a single part of a cosplayer’s–or anyone else’s–body, rather than the whole person. And if you’re posing for a picture, getting something signed, or asking a question at a panel, keep your eyes on the camera, or the face of the person you’re talking to.

2. And think before you ask: There’s nothing wrong with asking challenging questions at a convention, if they’re about content. Asking a cosplayer or artist for a hug, kiss or date, or asking about their bodies as an excuse to leer at them–as happened to artist Mandy Caruso when she was dressed as the Black Cat during an interview–is something different. Those questions are all about you, not about the work that an artist put into their comics or a cosplayer put into their costume. If you want to compliment someone, stick to their creativity and skills, not their looks, no matter how attractive you might find them. After all, it’s insulting for someone who’s put an enormous amount of effort into a costume or a book to have that hard work ignored. And if you find someone less than attractive? Keep it to yourself.

3. Respect everyone else’s space: Harris O’Malley, who runs the geek dating site Paging Dr. Nerdlove, notes that conventions are prone to a couple of levels of space invasion. First, there’s the convention floor, where he advises against lingering around booths. “I’ve seen lots of dudes think that if they hung around long enough chatting awkwardly, the cute comic artist [or] writer of their dreams will accept their love [or] proposition,” he says. Pro tip? That’s a way to make yourself look like a pest, rather than a romantic prospect. If you’re taking a picture with a cosplayer, O’Malley says letting them set the pose, rather than moving in close and using a photo opportunity as a chance to touch the person. This can both produce a better picture, since the cosplay probably knows the best and more dynamic poses for the character, and help you avoid coming across as creepy.

Similarly, there’s the issue of approaching people in spaces where they can’t easily move away if they’re uncomfortable, which was at the heart of the the problem infamous incident where Skepchick founder Rebecca Watson was propositioned in an elevator at the World Atheist Convention. It may be tempting to make a move when you’ve got the opportunity, but consider whether you’re in a situation where the person would feel uncomfortable saying no. If that’s the case, be a gentleman, and pass. This is also part of basic party etiquette, which includes not backing people up against a wall, or into corners. “An easy way to avoid this is to stand next to someone and facing the same direction as them, instead of across from them,” O’Malley suggests. “It’s less intimidating and feels far less predatory.”

4. Be considerate about other people’s time: Three Parts Dead and Two Serpents Rise novelist Max Gladstone says that, as someone who grew up not knowing many other nerds, “I have a perpetual sense of astonishment whenever I run into women who have opinions about Roger Zelazny or the end of Evangelion.” But he points out that when you’re talking to someone who shares your interests, or to an artist you admire, an easy way to come across poorly is to monopolize their time, especially if they seem like they aren’t interested in the conversation. As much as it’s exciting to meet fellow geeks and your nerd idols, remember that you don’t have a right to anyone else’s time and attention, much less a set amount of it. Knowing when your moment is up and exiting gracefully won’t just make you come across better to the people around you. It’ll help you preserve good memories, untainted by awkward endings.

5. Pay attention to the signals other people are sending you: To be fair, it can be hard to know when to bow out of a conversation, especially with someone you don’t know. O’Malley says to follow their eyes and look for sentence length. “If the person you’re talking to is responding enthusiastically, then everything’s great,” he says. “But if you’re getting shorter and more terse answers, doing more talking than listening and they’re either looking around the room or checking their phone or watch, they’re looking for a socially acceptable excuse to leave.”

6. Watch your drinking: It’s easy to feel like a convention that takes you far from home and lets you to hang out with friends or colleagues you only see once in a while is a great place to kick back and have few drinks. But while having one drink to loosen up around people you don’t know may be a pleasant social lubricant, zipping past your limits is a great way to alienate new friends who are just getting to know you (or know you in person) and destroy the positive impression you wanted to create of yourself as a fun person (or promising professional). Especially when you don’t know everyone you’re hanging out with well, alcohol makes it easy to crash through people’s boundaries, O’Malley warns: “A few drinks in and suddenly that line you think is hilarious and harmless is actually really offensive or creepy to everyone else.”

Of course, sexual harassment at conventions doesn’t just affect women (and men) who experience it. If you’re a guy, seeing a woman you care about as a friend, partner, or colleague get harassed, or hearing about it later, can be incredibly upsetting. But here are six great ways to be an ally to the women who you’ll be hanging out with in San Diego, stopping harassment before it happens, disrupting it when it’s underway, and reporting it afterwards, so Comic-Con can be a fun and safe experience for everyone involved.

1. Arm yourself with knowledge: San Diego Comic-Con–which takes the time to make clear how it will screen cosplayers’ weapons–doesn’t currently publicize its sexual harassment policy on its website. But there is a policy, which Wired received from convention representatives:

“Attendees must respect commonsense rules for public behavior, personal interaction, common courtesy, and respect for private property. Harassing or offensive behavior will not be tolerated. Comic-Con reserves the right to revoke, without refund, the membership and pass of any attendee not in compliance with this policy. Persons finding themselves in a situation where they feel their safety is at risk or who become aware of an attendee not in compliance with this policy should immediately locate a member of security or a staff member, so that the matter can be handled in an expeditious manner.”

Also, regardless of the con-specific rules, California state law criminalizes both felony sexual assault and misdemeanor sexual battery. And if someone is at Comic-Con in a professional capacity, the fact that they’re at a convention doesn’t mean you can’t report them to their employer if they sexually harass another Comic-Con attendee, as the writer Elise Matheson decided to do recently after she was harassed at a convention. Knowing the law and your options means you’ll be prepared if you or a friend or colleague is harassed, and want to respond.

2. Let people know you’re on their side before you pick up your badge: Novelist John Scalzi, who recently said he’d no longer accept invitations to appear at conventions that don’t have clear, rigorous, well-promoted and well-enforced harassment policies, says one of the best ways to help other people have good convention experiences is to step up before something goes on. “If you’re going into a situation where your female friend might catch some crap, let her know ahead of time that if she needs you, you have her back,” he suggests. “She can determine what she needs and when, and can be in control of any intervention. This doesn’t mean you have to stand around like a bodyguard, just that you’re ready to help out if she needs you.”

3. If you see something, document something: Once you’re on the convention floor, O’Malley says the one exception to the rule about asking before you take pictures or video is when clear and obvious harassment is going down, and you need to collect evidence that could be useful for convention organizers, law enforcement, or someone’s employer later. Having documentation you can go back to is “easier than relying on a quick impression,” he says. “Plus, in a crowded venue like San Diego Comic-Con, it’s easy to get a case of mistaken identity… People can just fade into the teeming masses. A ‘caught in the act’ photo helps with that.” That doesn’t mean you should take it on yourself to dispense vigilante justice and distribute said photos or videos yourself. A great illustration of how those efforts can go wrong fast was the negative response to Adria Richards’ decision to tweet a photo of two men making jokes she found offensive at the open-source conference PyCon. Also, you also don’t want to humiliate someone who has been just been harassed by broadcasting their harassment for the world to see. So if you catch video or photos of something bad going down, offer it up to the person who was harassed as documentation for a potential report.

4. Don’t be afraid to deflect the situation: Scalzi recommends that if you see a friend or coworker in an uncomfortable situation that you “use your friend privileges for good. There have been times where I’ve seen female friends looking trapped by a dude, where I have gone over and said, ‘excuse me, I need to borrow my friend here for just a moment,’ and then gently extricated her to find out if everything was fine. If it is, no harm done and she can go back to her conversation. If it wasn’t then she can use that moment as an escape route, with me backing her up. Likewise there have been times when I have been talking with a female friend and some dude who has been making her uncomfortable comes up; I’ll tell that guy we’re having a private conversation, and that he should move along. This does mean you have to be willing to be seen as a jerk by this guy, but if this guy is making your friend uncomfortable, then that’s probably not going to be a problem.”

5. Offer yourself up as a sidekick, don’t try to be the superhero: It’s easy to get rage-y, thinking about the prospect of someone you care about being creeped on at a place where they’re supposed to be having a great time. But resist your fantasies of going all Kick-Ass on a harasser. Often, the best, most productive thing you can do is offer to be a sidekick, not a superhero. Listen to your friend while she’s processing her experiences. If she decides to file a report, offer to accompany her while she talks to convention organizers, the cops, or places a call to their harasser’s employer to file a report. Matheson specifically talks about how important it was to have had a friend with her when she reported her harassment. And if your friend has a bad experience talking to convention staff or to anyone else, you can be a valuable witness to that secondary experience. Sure, it means you might miss a screening or a signing. But taking time out to support a friend who’s been harassed is a way to make the convention experience better and safer for everyone in attendance. That’s heroism, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

6. Treat friends you’re meeting at Comic-Con for the first time like they’re your real friends:Gladstone acknowledges that conventions can present special challenges, because they can be meeting places for people who have mostly forged their relationships online. But he says that only increases the obligation to act if someone you care about is being made uncomfortable–or making other people uncomfortable. “Will we stop our ‘friends’ from doing something that they’d regret (as, I assume, we’d do with our real friends)?” he asks. “Will we help our ‘friends’ avoid unwanted attention; will we be there for them as we would for people we’ve known for years?” The answer to both of those questions, obviously, should be yes.

Original Wired Article

Warhammer 40k: Eternal Crusade – Exclusive Interview (TenTonHammer.com)

Wow! What a score for TenTonHammer! Warhammer 40k has been a long-awaited MMO and this exclusive interview gives us the inside scoop on how long conflicts can last (weeks to months!), that it’s being developed more as a sandbox MMO, and that Warhammer 40k will be FREE TO PLAY. Oh, by the way, you can combine your ships with others forming one massive ship (e.g. guild halls). Uh, hell yeah!

Head below the asterisks to read the original article.

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In a week full of surprise announcements, few have had MMO gamers more excited than the unexpected rebirth of the Warhammer 40k MMO. While the game wasn’t officially being shown at E3, Miguel Caron, Head of the Online Studio at Behaviour Interactive was awesome enough to sit down with Ten Ton Hammer to discuss the design concepts behind the game, expected to launch sometime in 2015.

Our discussion touched on a typical day in the life of a 40k player, the player run chain of command, playable races, and plenty of other interesting tidbits. As I listened to Miguel’s impassioned descriptions of the game, it became readily apparent that he’s just as excited about making the game as fans of the 40k universe are to play it.

WH4K Battle

Space Marines like to come in large numbers.

From a stormbird’s eye view, Warhammer 40k will be somewhat of a sandbox game along the lines of EVE Online, only given a bit more structure in terms of how large-scale conflicts play out. The scale of these conflicts is said to be absolutely massive, or about double that of any other multiplayer game currently on the market.

As Miguel explained, “In terms of technology, we’re currently aiming to double the amount of players on the same battlefield over the biggest game right now. I want to give the visceral feeling of what it is to be part of the war. And it’s not an easy war, but a very dirty war.”

Another thing Miguel was quick to point out is that gamers do tend to like having some form of win condition involved, no matter the type of game they happen to be playing. As such, conflicts in the Warhammer 40k MMO will last anywhere from two weeks up to a few months in duration.

“One of the things I hate in massive warfare games is that there is no winner; they never finish. So what we’re aiming for is campaigns that run from two weeks to three months. The reason why I’m saying from two weeks to three months is because I don’t know who’s going to win, and how fast they’re going to win.

There are four different races that you’ll be able to play. The first will be the Dark Angels from the Space Marines, the Iron Warriors for Chaos, and then the Eldar and the Orks. Then I control the Tyranid – they can’t really be controlled by players because it’s a hive mind.

For example, if I see a huge population of Space Marines playing in the US for a new campaign and they outnumber everyone else to the point they’re about to wipe out the entire planet within days, suddenly the Tyranid would be a lot more interested in them. We’re not going to try and counter that kind of imbalance too much, but enough to help campaigns last for those two weeks.”

A Day in the Life

A typical day in the life of your character might play out something like this. You log on and create your character. From there you load into the game, and will spawn on your ship, which serves both as a form of player housing and flying trophy case all in one. If you decide to permanently join a squad with other players, the group of you will even be able to combine your ships into one massive vessel. If that happens, you’ll each retain your own individual compartments, but will effectively have a guild hall for your squad, making it easier to connect and dive into the action together.

In the GRIM DARKNESS of the future, there is additional grim darkness.

With that squad, you might get voted by your friends to become squad leader. As such, you’ll have the ability to issue objectives for the rest of your squad, in effect creating content for them.

In terms of the overarching chain of command and how it fits into the game, Miguel explained, “When you start the game, the objectives that you have are not given by us, they’re given by other players. We have three ranks of hierarchy: squad leaders, chapter leaders, and then the war council for the whole race. There will be requirements you’ll need to meet to become a squad leader and above, but the players will vote for you to become one of them.

We have a whole system where players can nominate their friends as their squad leader. And then all the squad leaders will nominate someone to be chapter leader. Finally, all the chapter leaders will nominate and vote on who they want to be part of the war council for the whole race.

So when you start as a new player, the objectives that you’ll have will be coming from that war council, chapter leaders, and squad. If you decide to follow these objectives, you’ll gain an XP bonus. So you don’t have to do those objectives, only if you want to get the bonus XP. But the purpose of the game is to make sure your race wins; you’re there playing to win the war. But what this system does is it allows players to invent gameplay for their race.”

Welcome to the Machine

The game will be free-to-play, but if there were any two things that Miguel stressed above all others, it would be his insistence that the 40k MMO be the most immersive game it possibly can be, and that he does not want the game to have any pay to win elements.

An example of items players might be able to purchase that would help fulfill both of those needs would be additional, unique executions for each faction. When you fall on the battlefield, your squad or other members of your faction have the opportunity to revive you rather than immediately forcing you to respawn at another location. However, an enemy still has the opportunity to ‘execute’ you, Think of this almost like finishing downed players in Guild Wars 2 PvP.

Tyranid vs. Eldar

Eldar vs. Tyranids will be happening. The above screen is from Dawn of War II.

In the Warhammer 40k MMO, you’ll be able to do some standard executions, or there could be more interesting or elaborate executions you can purchase. These will be faction-specific, so imagine seeing an Ork Boy run up to a defeated Space Marine and dancing around a bit before sitting down on and squashing his head.

In terms of server structure, the game is going to be one massive game world. Different instances of specific areas might spawn, but Miguel is conscious of the need to keep players connected with this type of setup. The idea here is that you should be able to click on your friend or squad member’s name and it will instantly summon them to the same version of the world that you’re in.

Before we wrap things up (don’t worry, we have loads more info on the 40k MMO to follow soon!), another of the comments made by Miguel about what sets this game apart from other MMOs out there certainly struck a chord with me.

“The game has very simple gameplay, yet is also very, very deep. The premise is that there is only war; it’s total warfare. Now, there’s a lot of depth to it, but I’m not going to hold your hand and tell you a story. I’m not going to have you playing a Space Marine mining ore or things like that, because they don’t do that. You’re not going to care about delivering some package to Ms. Smith. This is a game about total warfare. It’s impossible to please everybody, but I can guarantee I will please the core fans amassed around the 40k universe.”

From what we’ve heard about the game so far, it’s definitely piqued our interest to say the least. Stay tuned for more details and info on the Warhammer 40k MMO from our discussions with Miguel Caron. In the meantime, be sure to let us know your thoughts about the announcement and info revealed about the game so far!

Original TenTonHammer.com Article

Warhammer 40K MMORPG Revealed at E3 (TenTonHammer.com)

While we’re currently experiencing a strong sci-fi MMORPG showing (Firefall, SWTOR, Defiance, Marvel Heroes, several new announcements for Xbox One and PS4, etc.), it’ll be interesting to see the niche War40K: EC can carve out for itself by the time it launches “End of 2015”. End of 2015? Two-and-a-half years? Dang. That’s longer than I have to wait for an Asian MMORPG to be Westernized and released in the US. Insert sad face here.

Currently the official website shows development is on “Phase 1: Game is Announced” and there are eight more phases to go, with Phase 2 “coming soon”. Thus far, you can choose one of four races (all shown below) and enroll, posting to Facebook or Twitter to show your support and the race you selected. War 40K: EC will offer “3rd Person, Persistent Online Action in the first MMORPG of the 41st Millennium”.

Read on for the full scoop about Warhammer 40k: Eternal Crusade!

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IN THE GRIM DARKNESS OF THE FAR FUTURE
THERE IS ONLY WAR

Chaos

Chaos

If your hopes for a Warhammer 40k MMO were extinguished with THQ’s fire sale of Dark Millenium Online, one of the first announcements of E3 (that’s E3 proper, not pre-E3 Xbox One day or the other jump-the-gun events) may get you fired up.

Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade marks the first MMO for Behaviour (that is, unless we’re counting Sims 3), and the first game since Wet (which, coupled with the possibly orgasmic female on the cover, never fails to bring out my nerd giggles) that has my immediate attention. And even without a glitchy presentation at yesterday’s Microsoft circus, it is apparently coming to the Xbox One.

The show floor hasn’t even been open for 30 minutes and this might qualify as the MMO surprise of the event. While our E3 away team wrangles for an appointment, here’s the full press release:


Join the Eternal Crusade™ starting in 2015

A new Warhammer® 40,000® MMORPG revealed.

Space Marines

Space Marines

Montreal, 11th June, 2013 – Behaviour Interactive and Games Workshop® proudly announce a new online game in the Warhammer® 40,000® universe: Warhammer 40,000: Eternal CrusadeBehaviour Interactive has obtained the rights to create a wholly new MMORPG persistent war experience for PC, PS4 and Xbox One set in Games Workshop’s universe of the 41st Millennium. In the game, players choose a Warhammer 40,000 race and fight directly as one of their warriors in massive conflicts for territory. It will be up to each faction’s community to determine their own destiny as they vie for control of an entire planet.

“I am thrilled to announce what will finally be the first MMORPG based on the “Warhammer 40,000 license,” said Miguel Caron, Head of Studio, Online at Behaviour Interactive.“ Eternal Crusade’s team are all MMO development veterans and with the support of Behaviour’s 20+ years of experience this is going to be the online Warhammer 40,000 universe game that fans have been dreaming of for years!”

Eldar

Eldar

“Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade is the second milestone in Behaviours new online strategic positioning after last year’s Star Citizen Announcement.” said Rémi Racine, President and Executive Producer of Behaviour. “We are very happy with the progress of the online studio and you should expect more similar announcements to come.”

“The depth, breadth and sheer level of detail that the Warhammer 40,000 universe has after 26 years of continuous development makes it one of the great fantasy settings of our times.” said Jon Gillard, Head of Licensing at Games Workshop. “Experiencing the thrill of first hand combat in this world of eternal conflict, with thousands of other players beside you, will be fantastic.”

Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade is currently in development for PC, PS4, and Xbox One and will release in late 2015.

Main features of the game include:

    • Experience the gameworld with 3rd-person, behind the shoulder action featuring precision gunplay and brutal melee combat with excruciating finishers;
    • Participate in a persistent online war to conquer the planet, its fate completely in the hands of the players;
    Orks

    Orks

    • Become a warrior from one of four initial factions, each unique and opposed to one another: Space Marines, Chaos Space Marines, Orks and Eldar.
    • Participate in truly massive conflicts that simultaneously bring thousands of players to bear over territories and other strategic resources.
    • Get behind the controls of Space Marine Rhinos, Predators, Ork Battlewagons and other iconic vehicles of the 41st millennium;
    • Hack through genuinely challenging procedural content alongside your battle-brothers and never have the same experience twice;
    • Earn the right to customize your builds in a deep progression system drawing on the rich Warhammer 40,000 universe.
    • Found a Battle Squad with friends and prepare for conflict from your customized shared space in orbit – then drop down to the planet together and seek out glory!

    Original TenTonHammer.com Article

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