“The Wine Aunt does not have a build. She is a lifestyle.”
September 1, 2019 2:16 PM   Subscribe

An Ode to the Wine Aunts: Enough with the Dad Builds and Dad Games [Paste Magazine]
“Overworked and underpaid, she hasn’t made it back home in years. But when she does, it’ll be with a rolling suitcase filled with boutique presents for her niece, black leggings, bodysuits, her vape pen, a large bottle of wine to split with her mom, and her battered, venerable Playstation Vita (shit, she forgot to pack underwear again). She drinks six-dollar pinot grigio with six ice cubes from a red wine glass, because they were on sale at Target, and her galley kitchen only has so much cabinet space. The Wine Aunt sneers at the “Dad Build” talk, Dadification, and the burgeoning someday-Dads who are already upset when they’re not exclusively catered to, when marginalized non-Dads dare to ask for inclusion in this hobby, in more thoughtful ways than they clamored for a new Mass Effect 3 ending.”
Dia Lacina pushes back from the edges against the industry-wide reflex to make everything in games for and about men.
posted by Fizz (17 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
I dunno how big of a group this is but I certainly recognize some friends of mine in this description.
posted by subdee at 2:26 PM on September 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Apart from the part about feeling morally obligated to play and review AAA shooters. My friends just play the jrpgs and indie art games they want to play.
posted by subdee at 2:27 PM on September 1, 2019 [4 favorites]

posted by Secretariat at 2:52 PM on September 1, 2019

In case anyone is like me and wondering what "dad build" means, apparently it's a term of derision for selecting equipment in a game that easy to get, easy to use, and effective in competitive play.
posted by glonous keming at 3:20 PM on September 1, 2019 [19 favorites]

Still, the Wine Aunt also likes adjudicating who lives and who dies, who gets Regen and really deserves that Cure 2.

So I used to main tank in a Warcraft guild. With the stereotypical setup; guild master was the other main tank, healing lead was his girlfriend, and pretty much all the healers were women. "Girls are healers" we'd joke; no one was offended by the stereotype, everyone thought it was funny we mostly matched it. (With some glaring exceptions.)

As a tank you feel like a hero. You walk in and grab the boss and get all the damage focussed on you. And you cannot die. You take all these hits but your gear is so good and you're so skilled at dodging the fire/slime/lightning that you are the hero. Heck, it feels like you're doing all the damage too, you're the one in front attacking it with your bear claws. I mean I knew intellectually that the rest of my raid group really did the damage and the healers were keeping me alive, but I felt like the hero.

Then one week I filled in as a raid healer. Respecced to tree, pulled out the crappy dungeon healing set, enabled the healer addons. "How hard can it be?" Then I got put into the private healer channel, the one where everyone discussed healing strategy and how the raid was going.

And then I found who really ran the raid. Not me, the main tank. Not the macho guildmaster other tank. Certainly not the DPS. No, it was the healers. And they were ruthless. Oh sure they'd heal the main tank through thick or thin, but every time the tank made a mistake they'd be like "that dummy he's standing in the fire again, please add some extra heals". And the one warlock who pulled aggro and took damage and made everyone's lives complicated? "Let him die, don't heal him, he needs to learn this lesson again." It was wonderful and hilarious and I almost became a healer main that night myself.

<3 all you wine aunts.
posted by Nelson at 3:57 PM on September 1, 2019 [45 favorites]

easy to get, easy to use, and effective in competitive play

Ah yes, the true sore loser response: "I would have won but you used a dad build! If I picked those weapons I would have beat you, but I picked an awesome build that only real players use!"
posted by davejay at 4:08 PM on September 1, 2019 [7 favorites]

Thank you, glonous keming .
posted by doctornemo at 4:10 PM on September 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

I may not be a Wine Aunt myself (despite not having kids, I'm somewhere in the Dad end of the taxonomy, and not just because of my gender), but the Wine Aunts are definitely My People. The world needs more of them, and the world should cater more to them.
posted by tobascodagama at 4:23 PM on September 1, 2019 [3 favorites]

Dia Lacina pushes back from the edges against the industry-wide reflex to make everything in games for and about men.

They tried, with Girlfriend Mode, but everyone got mad.

posted by Reyturner at 4:34 PM on September 1, 2019

Wow, no. "Dad builds" didn't start and weren't named by Destiny 2 casuls. It's from Dark Souls PVP. The infamous "Giant Dad" build, consisting of the Stone Giant armour set, The Father's Mask, Havel's Ring, the Ring of Favour and Protection, and a +10 Chaos Zweihander and Grass Crest shield. Immortalized forever in OnlyAfro's video (cw: racist language, lgbtq insults, trolling).
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:05 PM on September 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

I feel like I'm too young to be a Wine Aunt (and don't drink), but a lot of this is me! I'm looking forward to buying a new gaming PC so I can game on what little downtime I have again.
posted by Freeze Peach at 5:09 PM on September 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

her battered, venerable Playstation Vita (shit, she forgot to pack underwear again)

it me

(Except that I have to solder my Vita back together again after a mishap incurred adding another memory slot, because proprietary memory is the worst.)
posted by asperity at 9:53 PM on September 1, 2019 [4 favorites]

Nelson: I loved healing as well, brings me back memories! I've played all roles while PVE raiding at a pretty high level (some server first kills) and can confirm that healing is the most fun mostly because it's very clear when you do save the raid despite all odds. As a DPS it's really unclear to me: sure I could top the meters, but honestly it just meant the boss died 15 seconds faster than normal? As a tank I got compliments for how consistent and small the incoming damage was - that was back in the really early days when achieving 100% mitigation coverage was important for pushing crushing blows off the hit table, and when most tanks didn't know about that or didn't have the gear to achieve it - it wasn't easy back then at all. It was very noticable as a healer when your tank took a crushing blow, or two in a row. You developed a certain rapport with the raid healers who knew what your incoming damage profile was and adjusted their style to match yours. There's just a bunch of extra things you can do with a healer as well that you can't really do as a DPS, for efficiency I used to pre-cast a fair bit, where you take a slow but high efficiency heal and repeatedly cast it on targets you predict are going to take damage, and cancel it at the last moment if they don't. It allowed me to top meters by a big margin in both efficiency and total healing because by the time anyone became aware of the damage my heal was already a fraction of a second away from landing.

But yes, now 14 years later I have less time, and I absolutely always gravitate towards what I call the high efficiency builds - why spend valuable time on something that doesn't give proportionally greater returns?
posted by xdvesper at 1:15 AM on September 2, 2019 [4 favorites]

Wow, no. "Dad builds" didn't start and weren't named by Destiny 2 casuls.

Somehow, articles by women about gaming really bring out the misplaced nitpicking. Read the article again. She never said that's how the term originated - she talks about Destiny 2 builds briefly and moves on.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 9:18 AM on September 2, 2019 [9 favorites]

I guess I'm a Wine Mom. Awesome! This was a great, and accurate read, as a girl gamer who embodies virtually everything she describes (though I preferred playing a red mage in XI, I still was primarily a healer). The whole 'have to have this perfect set of gear otherwise its effectively your fault we wiped' bs in games chock full of sore losers or people who can't think outside the box, is ultimately why I don't play mmorpg anymore. There seems to be so much more negativity and elitism involved in these games now.
posted by meowf at 2:02 PM on September 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

Heh, one of the things I enjoy about my gaming friends is that we're elitist against people with the "best" weapons and builds, rather than the other way around. We think they're boring. We never blame each other for when we do poorly, outside of some good-natured ribbing.

One of my favorite things in PvP is when I get killed by some really underpowered joke weapon. I like going up against people who seem to be playing for fun, rather than people with a super-competitive, score-maximizing, and boring way to play. (I can play that way too, but I almost always have less fun.)
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 3:08 PM on September 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

Love this. I'm more of a Gin Uncle—I play story-driven solo games while drinking, and sometimes the next day will have no memory of how my character got to where they are now. ("Hey, when did I get this achievement for killing all ten High Dragons?")
posted by ejs at 6:03 PM on September 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

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