June 2001


(c)Computer Gaming World 7/2001

Marsha Gevauden was the first teacher to believe in me.

Scott Jennings was the first person to give me a stage.

They footnote all that i dream and all that I might hope to accomplish.

“In my own experience, nothing is harder for the developing writer than overcoming his anxiety that he is fooling himself and cheating or embarrassing his family and friends. To most people, even those who don’t read much, there is something special and vaguely magical about writing, and it is not easy for them to believe that someone they know — someone quite ordinary in many respects — can really do it.” — John Gardner


When Asheron\’e2\’80\’99s Call was released, Turbine/Microsoft took the revolutionary step of not taking action against cheaters and exploiters. Their logic was that if exploits and cheats existed in the game, they were the fault of the designers and not the players.

I call the step revolutionary if only because it had to be the most idiotic policy any MMOG has ever thought of. T/MS trusted the players to turn in exploits. T/MS felt if players had nothing to fear, they would return that goodwill in kind.

The result? Massive exploitation, cheating, and the creation of third party programs with the ability to ruin the gaming experience for massive quantities of players. T/MS gave them an inch, and many players decided they wanted to take an astronomical mile.

This week, T/MS have announced that they will patch in a way to detect the use of the GEAR program. Any player detected using the program will be punished. It seems MS/T have realized they can no longer allow players to roam free through the game doing whatever they wish.

I have always disliked Turbine\’e2\’80\’99s policy. I felt their approach was like that of liberal parents who were more interested in being friends with their kids than being actual parents. With no guidance and a reluctance to punish, the kids took advantage of the situation and wreaked havoc wherever possible. With no real authority coming from those running the game, the players became foreign to the idea of self-discipline within in the world.

Finally, the parents are spanking the kids and telling them \’e2\’80\’9cNo.\’e2\’80\’9d

The policy of T/MS is good if for only one thing: it taught future MMOGs that they cannot be lenient with cheaters and exploiters. It taught game companies that they must be ever-vigilant in maintaining the integrity of their game. It taught them that some of the players are indeed the enemy, an enemy who has no intention of playing their game fairly and in good faith.

I suspect, if comments from Warden are any indication, that Shadbowbane will not be the Holy Grail for many of the players who have taken residence on Darktide until the release of that game. Especially in a game based around PvP, exploiters must be dealt with quickly and harshly.

Gaming companies need to ban. It is not a pleasant experience. Surely no company likes to do it. However, companies must take every measure possible to protect their products and create an enjoyable experience for the majority of their player-base. Players do not have a right to play a game when they are exploiting or cheating. They are there but for the grace of the company.

Hopefully other companies will not repeat the mistake that T/MS have made over the past one and a half years. The players are not your friends. Some will take advantage of any slack you cut them. Some will try to destroy the game if it results in a boost for their own ego. They\’e2\’80\’99re not there for the benefit of other players.

And so, you ban, if you expect the integrity of your game to survive.

Thanks to Squeak from the message board for posting the link which lead to this article.

DUSK TILL DAWN [Author: Arcadian Del Sol]

The big announcement from Glitchless finally arrived – unlike previous big announcements that required induced labor from rabid fanboys.

What was the big announcement? Shocker – they aren’t making an MMOG. They reason that the already-over-stuffed MMOG market has made it hard to get any respect from publishers. In order to obtain said respect, they have announced a single-player Real-Time-Strategy game entitled “Dusk: Dawn Tactics”.

Because on planet Glitchless, the way to get respect from industry publishers is to RIP-OFF THE NAMES OF THEIR VERY SUCCESSFUL FRANCHISES. And given that this new game is being called a “prequel”, I guess on Planet Glitchless, dusk comes before dawn. On Planet Earth, that happens when everybody is SLEEPING.

They promise that this turn of events is being done so that they can raise enough capital to redirect efforts into making the MMOG. The icon created for this story depicts the reaction from the Dawn Fan Club International. Yes, it is cute – but somehow it is also very chilling. Pray for us.

The press release can be found here at the official website. IT IS ALL THAT YOU WILL FIND THERE, aside from lots of gap toothed red-headed little girls squealing with delight.


Fresh on the heels of Oni, Rockstar games has announced an upcoming project: State of Emergency.

To cut to the chase, it’s a game about rioting against the “American Trade Organization”, which is to say it’s the videogame version of the WTO protests that have occurred over the last year or so.

I suspect that anyone who feels great sympathy for the anti-WTO movement aren’t eager to have their points of view trivialized. I know I don’t. I also suspect anyone who feels strongly in favor of the latest round of what is laughably called “free trade” probably isn’t eager to have the more extreme acts of the radical minority of the protesters glorified. Who does that leave as actual customers of this game? People who don’t give a shit about politics or who don’t have enough sense to form an opinion about, well … anything.

Given such a vast target audience, I predict Rockstar Interactive will have one hell of a success on their hands. Maybe the sequel will based be the inevitable results of the actions of the WTO, titled “Third World Sweatshop”.


Last week a link appeared on this site, which redirected viewers to a different site that resorted to using pornography to talk about Shadowbane. I apologize to those who I offended by allowing the link to appear on my site. My site is about bugs and exploits, but NOT the exploitation of women. This is what I feel the particular page and site had been focusing on. As a husband and father of two daughters, I try to present my views, although sometimes controversial, in a way that is open and entertaining to any gender and age. This style of propaganda is shameful and I apologize for those individuals offended by it. You will not see this style or links to this type of material ever on my sites.

So, Dr. Twister, International Man of Mystery, was offended by our examination of Shadowbane’s Labor Theory of Value (warning – not only is that link not worksafe, it offends Dr. Twister). Well, you know, it’s good to know that the good Dr. is keeping his children, and mine, and yours safe from having to see heavily censored Playboy centerfolds accidentally while reading about how to cheat others in multiplayer games. THE MAN IS ON THE CASE.

I mean, dear God, imagine! While downloading the latest hack for Asheron’s Call, they might wander off to a page that says the word “fuck”! Oh shit, I’ve made the problem worse! No! I did it again! STOP ME! I’m destroying the morality of our young! When they’re breaking into people’s homes in UO and stealing them blind, they might use foul language! Obviously this can’t be allowed to continue. I’m not sure what we can do about this, but I’m pretty sure forcing Myschyf into a convent is probably step one on the list.

As their recruiting letters go, Looking for a site to express your opinions on the current slew of MMO games comming out? Do you desire a site that will not censor your opinions. A site that will not force you into a set of guidelines. If this is so, the Dr.Twister Network is for you. AS LONG AS THERE ARE NO PICTURES OF NEARLY NAKED WOMEN, MIND YOU.

Anyway, I’m a Republican. I approve of forcing morality down other people’s throats, right? So maybe Dr. Twister is on the right track. Step one of making the internet safe for Twister’s kids – quit making them update his sites. Being on the Internet that long can lead you to madness, and possibly Salon.

Dr. Twister, your trusty moral adviser. The world HAS turned upside down.