• Member Since 24th Jun, 2012
  • offline last seen November 13th



Tonight's special guest host is Meta Gamer, who's wandered the shards of Celestia's virtual paradise of Equestria for centuries. Tonight he'll be here to give us his insight into Scarcity, our favorite game honoring the frightening world called Earth. He's an avid player who's been away from the tournament scene for a long time but certainly knows about adventures and hardship, along with redesigning towns to include a lot more gravity-defying racing. What a fulfilling time we'll have as we bring you the ninety-first Standard Rules grudge match between former humans Red Dawn and Concord, live from Preakness!

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 12 )

…And then the ending was sad. I was not disappointed, though!

"you could imagine CelestAI's secretly letting some of her shards go non-canon the way things happened in "Expansion Pack""
Aye, there will outlier shards of all sorts, I expect; they just won't see much intershard traffic. Some of them might be perfectly "normal" Equestrias inhabited by people who'd just find intershard traffic significantly dissatisfying for some reason, but there are a lot of values out there that wouldn't mix well (For instance, some people, it occurred to me while reading this, really would be optimally satisfied by having Dachau in Equestria, rather than by suggesting it without really meaning or understanding it and then being rebuffed, and it's probably not a good idea to let them around anyone except a few select and similar friends and a bunch of p-zombies; that shard from the story with the unrepentant serial killer also comes to mind, and there are probably a fair number of fanatical theocracies out there. Or just values that aren't dangerous to others but are so esoteric that, at least at first, before spending a few millennia as resonating 36-dimensional gas-cloud ponies becomes just a thing that most people try just because, no one would want to visit anyway.). The number of sealed outlier shards would probably decrease over time, though.

Oh, and I can also imagine there being groups of shards with traffic allowed within them but much less allowed with other groups, though this, too, would probably decrease over time.

Huh. You know, Meta Gamer, I remember what used to happen in the Outer Realm when we would just live out our lives based on some bit of past history. That history would define who we were and what we had to do in life.

And you know what? It was an endless torrent of blood and tears and hate. We destroyed and mutilated each-other just because history demanded that we take seriously every stupid little thing someone had ever fought for, instead of taking seriously the health and happiness of the real, living people we actually had.

You haven't played on the real Hardcore Mode, Meta Gamer. You haven't played Scarcity for real until you find the part you have to bury, the part you don't want anypony to know about for the whole rest of time, the part that makes you say "Never again."

But that was most of our history.

Mixed thoughts:

I really like how you have your own sub-continuity in among the general Optimalverse.

I had to read through twice before it got through my skull that Canary died. To me it's an article of faith that saying "I want to emigrate to Equestria" (aside: I want to emigrate to Equestria) is tantamount to invulnerability.

Was Silver's story a shoutout to No Exit? Or more specifically, Horizon's comment?

Sixty out of ninety Standard Rules matchups between these two rivals have had the socialists eventually crush the capitalists,

I am disappoint. On a sheer question of aesthetics, (leaving out any considerations of practicality or morality) a capitalist utopia strikes me as more worthy of winning a Scarcity battle than a socialist one.

I'm reminded of some of my attempts to explain starcraft 2 to you by the way the commentators had to explain even a simple concept like slavery to the viewing audience. Actually theres one video in particular I remember.

I remember you saying you were "Amazed to see people cheering on some guy for moving zerglings around on a screen." Only... it wasnt the guy playing the Red Zerg they were cheering on, they were cheering on a fantastic display of skill by the blue terran player.

How is that relevent here? Context. Without context it just looks like zerglings being moved around on a screen or pieces being moved around on a board.

With context its a stunning ballet of marines dancing back and splitting into small groups so that when the explosive banelings strike they dont take out more than a few troops, marines individually target firing multiple banelings a second and constantly manuevering backwards to buy more time and in the end costing the zerg player far more resources than it was worth to expend.

There are a lot of people alive right now who dont even remotely grasp the context of global humanity, never mind the difficulties one would face having been raised in a post scarcity utopia. I think if you wanted to make this easier to grasp it would help to reduce it in scale to something ponies can more easily relate too, perhaps a tribe versus tribe context where personal interactions are dictated by the necessities of survival?

It wasn't clear? I was afraid of that; argh. You're probably not alone. Maybe I'll change the wording.
"No Exit"... ah! Yes, I think it was.
I'd certainly be rooting for Concord in this intellectual board game / pro wrestling match, but deliberately left it ambiguous whether he's right about the results being skewed. Concord argues that Red Dawn's collectivist tactics only work if you make false assumptions about human nature that cause oppression, death and horror in Earth reality (and I agree), but they're playing a video game where gengineered dolphins hijack airships and the argument is going to devolve into ponies beating each other with chairs. Which is about how it goes in reality, only more satisfying.

I figure the foal version goes like, "Wait, what do you mean 'run out of food'?" Just nasty enough for ponies to be satisfied by realizing a little about how good they have it. Then their big siblings lord it over them about how they play the super-hardcore version (which totally isn't). Which brings us to...

:yay: "Um, mister Azathoth? Could you please tell mister Cthulhu to stop impaling planets with his tentacles while we drink our tea?"

It'd be easy to start thinking of ourselves as abominations relative to this idealized image of utopian ponies, then being depressed and hostile about our own species. But I'd be angry at any pony daring to call us evil for the sins of human history, and annoyed at any human who thinks we're evil because we don't meet the highest standard of perfection we can make up. (Which is one of my complaints against religions too.) My batpony characters understand that as screwed up as Earth is, Equestria only exists because we're capable of reaching for a higher moral standard than we came from. If a twelve-dimensional tentacle monster wants to visit your world and learn how to be nice, let it! Come to think of it, there's a disturbing but interesting story on that point where Twilight takes in an only-mostly-evil Sombra.

I wonder how long it'd take me to let go. I've fretted before about topics like the North Korea shard ("how can this not be in need of fixing?!"), and can imagine being like Concord and still arguing over the righteousness of economic freedom centuries after reality's changed so much that gemstones are cake ingredients.

4950618 I'm not insulting humanity at all. I think a lot of people do about as well as you can expect them to do, given their circumstances. I just think that if our posthuman successor-species want to argue about this stuff long after it's ceased having any real-world relevance, then they had better not take it remotely seriously. I don't want anyone beating anyone else up with a chair over issues where my real-life stance tends to be, "WHO CARES ABOUT FIGHTING! We just need to take the option that reduces total scarcity!"

Which brings us back to the name of the game...


Oh, no. It was clear when you read it; it's my fault for having a preconceived notion.


See, I think a little scarcity would go a long way. In the world of plenty, I think that ponies would write Ring Cycle-length epics about "That Time The Hayburger Came Out Medium Rare When I Asked For It Medium and Had To Wait Two Whole Minutes Before It Was Set Right."

'Non' canon optimalverse? I dont quite get that. :rainbowhuh:

This went into non-canon and "Smile" into canon. I'd have reversed that, since the "adapting AIs into canon ponies" thing isn't really canon and "Smile" hints that it might be just after the very non-canon "Expansion Pack". "Tournament" doesn't violate canon in any way I can see.

I want to see a pony town built like the one mentioned here, where going to the store involves "zero-G turbo boost zones" while music from F-Zero or Sonic the Hedgehog plays. Card game night is of course played on motorcycles.

Nice story.


That Epic sounds kind of ridiculous, even when steelmanning your view. It's one conflict resolved by asking the employees to redo it, which they're presumably happy to do. That's not even a little bit of scarcity, that's trivial. Not a whole lot to write about. A two-minute Epic? :rainbowhuh:

Then again, I guess that's the point. Alien minds, man...

4992758 Well, what I'm saying is that when that's literally the only thing that's gone wrong for you in a thousand years, it's going to hurt. That's why I don't groove on the whole "first world problem" concept. No one can say what's a big enough problem in a given moment to damage a person and make them hurt.


Yeah, but I'm not sure it even qualifies as a problem, let alone a Negative Thirty-First World problem.

Maybe I'm objecting to the plausibility of the scenario. In a world where you're able to receive something not entirely to your specification, how is it more probable than epsilon that that was the only thing to go wrong for you in the past millennium? It strikes me as a class of inconveniences that would only exist in a world that was less capable than what a millennium of perfection would imply. If I found myself in that situation, I would think it more probable that I was being simulated for the purpose of torturing a mind-replica, and that possibility strikes me as an entirely different kind of failure of utopia. (It might make for a Ring Cycle-length Epic, actually)

The type of mind design that implies that sensitivity to bad fortune scales down indefinitely, or at least to the scale that you propose, strikes me as ridiculously shortsighted. In preserving my metastable utility/goal system (fuck, where did I put that thing I wrote about the stability of self-modifying goal systems) (I guess I never did), that indefinite scaling of inconveniences is exactly the sort of thing I would want to safeguard against.

Then again, in a world where everything is made to specification with epsilon probability of failure, well... Maybe I would want to modify myself in such a way. But that's not the sort of post-scarcity I would find satisfying. That's like Peer crafting his two hundred thousandth table leg. At that point, a scarcity of scarcity becomes a threat.

That type of conflict seems to stem from a failure of your tools, a chance happening merely due to the law of large numbers. One vs... Math? Self? Society? Hayburger-providing Entity? A utilitiless thing. It doesn't seem like a conflict, just bad luck, and that sort of thing doesn't make a good epic, but a vignette.

I might have gone a bit overboard on this post. This is the smartest thing I've written all week.

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