Thursday, April 8, 2010

Automatons vs. Replicants

I'm not sure about you, but when I think of the word automatons, I think of mindless drones, programmed to do one task specifically. Imagine the scene in the movie The Fifth Element with Gary Oldman calling out the army of machines to make his point about life from destruction. Here, I'll help you out:

The automatons gather up the broken glass, polish the floor, and replenish a new glass with fresh water and a cherry; but when things go awry, and Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg's life depends on the help of the robots (read: robits, Isaac Asimov or Zoidberg style), there is little the automatons can do to adapt to the new situation.

Replicants on the other hand are highly sophisticated beings with artificial intelligence that can adapt, learn, and by far outstretches the simple programming of automatons. Faced with new situations a replicant can improvise and thrive. (Just in case, you don't know where Replicants come from, go watch the 1982 film Blade Runner)

Perhaps you see where I'm going with this, but just in case, I'll go ahead and spell it out:

Raider classifications:

The Automaton: Your common raider, who can accept programming, from simple instructions sometimes up to complex strategies, but who can do nothing more than follow these instructions like a roller coaster on a track or one of those tabletop hockey games with the little paper hockey guys stuck to the pegs in the slots. Programming can be input from several sources: the raid leader, strategies from other guilds, or DBM. For example then, if the raid leader or DMB says "STOP CASTING" in big angry voices/letters, the brain of an automaton can receive that instruction and communicate to the frantic fingers to stop pressing buttons. However, if something unexpected happens, or they don't have the right programming source downloaded and installed in the add-on folder, the circuitry breaks down and the following melt down can be catastrophic.

The Replicant: The uncommon raider, who can not only follow simple programming, be it from the raid leader or an add on, but can also adapt and solve complex raid calculations. When the going gets tough, these raiders thrive and get tough right back. Replicants approach new situations with a wealth of experience behind them and open and evolving minds, which leaves them, unlike the Automatons, flexible and outside of the rigid rules and rigors of programming. Replicants also understand the underlying mechanics of a fight, where your common automaton blindly follows programming through it, never knowing or caring about the design of an encounter.

Which Raider are you?
Even if you lead raids on a regular basis, you may be only a mere Automaton. Take a long look at the way you raid.
If you've been having issues with a fight, do you:
(a) Keep try! Try and try again, practice makes perfect, cliche cliche cliche?
(b) Ask a successful raider how they do it/consult a strategy?
(c) Evaluate the situation and try something straight from your own brain?

If you said (a), you're probably an automaton, unless the issue is getting the hang of a new mechanic, or tweaking positioning.
If you said (b), you may be one or the other, depending on what you do with the information you receive.
If you said (c), you're probably a replicant, unless your programming is fried and you're trying something stupid like staying in the defile (because that's never ever going to work).

There are many such questions I could ask. In fact, with the experience of a math teacher under my Belt of Petrified Ivy, I'm sure I could come up with a long, boring test of the short answer, show all your work variety. But I'm too lazy for that crap.

On a side note, I raid with several (some of those from the former 10 man, not the full 25 man I'm a part of now...) Replicants. There are several models of Replicant; the replicant Rachael (played by Sean White, who, coincidentally, part of me is totally convinced does the voice for Lady Deathwhisper, though I have absolutely no proof for that) is the most advanced, but I think we're more like the previous models for one reason. In Wikipedia, they are described thus: "Normal replicants aren't very empathetic or "human" in character, and are emotionally unstable." Yup... That's us.

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