THE ROUNDUP, UM, ROUNDED UP [Author: lum]

Our survey of upcoming MMORPGs has finished, with a complete list of games due out after 2001, games that are in our opinion total vaporware, and a few that we missed the first time due out next year (Jumpgate and WW2 Online). Check it out.

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK [Author: lum]

All you wookie watchers can breathe easily: the Star Wars Galaxies web site is finally up, with the requisite FAQ, message boards, and anonymous “Comments From The Team.”

This has been a great experience — Star Wars is a fantastic setting for a massively multiplayer game. It’s a universe that many of you love and have come to know as your own. We want to make sure you have fun in your galaxy, and we’re going to work hard at keeping open channels of communication with the players.

Three weeks later: “Your feeble messages are no match for the power of the dark side! Now you will pay the price for your lack of vision!”

Star Wars Galaxies is about exotic worlds and epic adventure. It’s about the struggle between the Light and Dark sides of the Force, with the outcome decided by the actions of players. It’s about large-scale political battles (which have now escalated into war) to take control of the galaxy. There’s a lot of exciting stuff to show you in the months to come, and a great team behind the game. As time goes on, you’ll get to meet them too — folks who worked on massively multiplayer games such as GemStone\’e2\’84\’a2, Meridian 59\’e2\’84\’a2, Ultima Online\’e2\’84\’a2, and EverQuest\’c2\’ae!

AND DON’T FORGET ADULTIMA, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!

Speaking of people in their own galaxy, Brian Hook, who is rumored to have crafted Verant’s second-generation graphics engine for use with SWG and other Verant titles, has left the company. An interview with VoodooExtreme reveals that he recently discovered Sony was a very large company. You know, with the really dedicated genius coders, it takes them time to pick up on the small stuff like this. Cut him some slack.

ABOUT TIME! [Author: myschyf]

We are considering changing the way in which mana, stamina, and hit points are calculated. Right now, each of these is tied directly to a stat (intelligence, dexterity, and strength) creating a situation where successful characters are required to have 100 strength (in order to have 100 hit points) and either 100 in dexterity or intelligence (depending on whether they are a fighter or a mage). A system that used the three stats together to determine mana, stamina, and hit points, rather than just relying on one stat will create better character diversity. This system will also give newly created characters more of a fighting chance, without taking away the rewards of gaining stats for veteran players.

The new formulas would be as follows:

MANA = (INT * 3 + STR) / 4

STAMINA = (DEX * 3 + STR) / 4

HIT POINTS = (STR + INT + DEX) / 3 + 25

The table below demonstrates how the new formulas would affect characters with various stat combinations.

STR DEX INT \’c2\~\’c2\~\’c2\~ MANA STAM HP
100 100 25 \’c2\~ 44 100 100
30 20 15 \’c2\~ 19 22 47
75 75 75 \’c2\~ 75 75 100
45 80 100 \’c2\~ 86 71 100
90 45 90 \’c2\~ 90 56 100
10 45 10 \’c2\~ 10 36 47

LUCASARTS LIFTS VEIL EVER SO SLIGHTLY ON STAR WARS ONLINE… ER, STAR WARS *GALAXIES* [Author: lum]

LucasArts issued a press release today announcing the imminent opening of Star Wars Online’s new web site. Or it may be called Star Wars Galaxies online now. Much like the game formerly known as Ultima Online 2, there are some issues here.

LucasArts Entertainment Company LLC today announced Star Wars Galaxies as the formal series brand name for their massively multiplayer online role-playing games. On November 30 LucasArts, in conjunction with Sony Online Entertainment Inc., will launch the game’s official information site, www.starwarsgalaxies.com.

This also implies a series of Star Wars MMOGs, not just one. I guess John Smedley needs TWELVE Porsches, not merely three.

The press release also announces that the new site will have active message boards monitored by Verant’s renowned Online Community Relations department.

Star Wars Xrgaming (what are they gonna call it, anyway? Crossroads of Mos Eisley?) also ferreted out what may be the actual name of SWO from recent DNS purchases by Verant, Empires Divided. Faction system, anyone?

A long, long time ago, in a Whineplay far, far away…

“TAKING A BULLET FOR MRPG COMEDY” or “DAWN HOC 3″ [Author: delusion]

Welcome to Dawn HoC 3, the first Dawn HoC to be hosted in #lummies.

<Ironfist> Hey jeff can we have balloons?

<GL-Jeff> We are incorporating balloons for long distance travelling that will run on hot air and players with metalworking and tailoring can create blimpbs

<GL-Jerry> You can kidnap and assrape people in our game too

<GL-Jeff> assrape will be a skill you can only achieve by completing some difficult quests

<calenth> can i rape chocolate golems?

<GL-Jeff> you can’t make chocolate golems, but you can cover a golem with dirt bricks and call him chocolate

<GL-Jerry> you can cut off bodyparts and wear them as armor

<calenth> what about if i make assless golems specially in advance?

<GL-Jerry> I made a suit of tits in 3DS Max!

<GL-Jeff> golems have no internal digestive systems right now, but that will be added in our expansion

<Staberinde> Oh oh oh, can I set traps in my golems ass so if someone assrapes it flying monkeys come out of it and kill them with the exploding bananas?

<GL-Jeff> Good question Staberine. We have that system 75% complete

<GL-Jeff> You will have to wait for the beta to see

<Staberinde> So the flying monkeys launch, they just don’t throw bananas?

<GL-Jeff> if you tame a monkey you can train it tricks.

<GL-Jeff> eventually it can learn advanced skills like flight and engineering

<GL-Jeff> right now we have a comprehensive list of thirty skills that monkeys’ can learn, each unique to the monkey class

<GL-Jeff> can they use catapults? right now, those devices are for humaniod players only

<Gothic_Moth> Can I be the King of the Gothic Moths?

<GL-Jeff> Anyone can be king – our game allows for all forms of player created and enforced politics

<Ironfist> how large can the fetuses get? can we enchant them to make them huge?

<GL-Jeff> ironfist – well a dragon fetus is quite large

<GL-Pete_B> *whispers* promise them a free beta, I have a clever idea!

<Gothic_Moth> Does a dragon fetus fit in a Trebuchet?

<GL-Jeff> gothic – depends on how early in development the dragon fetus is

<GL-Jeff> they all start out as a single cell, you know :)

<Ironfist> can we build houses out of fetuses and tits?

<GL-Jerry> You can make a people grinding machine with the advanced tinkering skill and trick people into walking into it

<J__> Will you get to have anal sex with dragon fetuses?

<J__> Will there be abortions in Dawn?

<J__> Will you be able to dupe fetuses?

<GL-Jeff> J – abortions will only be the result of losing your connection during conception

<Gothic_Moth> Do Trolls come with mighty ass scratch action poses?

<GL-Jeff> goth – trolls can be taught any number of skills

<GL-Jerry> Gothic: YES! Trolls can even fist themselves

<Gothic_Moth> If my wife is giving birth to a kewl d00d can we put the little bastard up for adoption?

<GL-Jeff> adoption is something we will not directly support

<GL-Jeff> however

<GL-Jeff> players can put together this sytem and will enforce it themselves

<GL-Jeff> ../next

<MadmanSBR> will blow jobs be supported in Dawn?

<GL-Jeff> blow jobs and other sex acts won’t be programmed, but you can always emote them.

<GL-Jeff> ../next

<Asimov> Next Question: <Brad> So when I have my second gay marriage, will there be a spell to impregnate my partner?

<GL-Jeff> Brad – well I don’t see a problem with that. In fact, we plan to allow for same sex polygamy and the Gods will actually grant them magical pregnancies

<GL-Jeff> ../next

<DanSTC> Jerry, will there be a technological skill for creating new kinds of baby fetus launchers, such as cannons, bottle rockets, and tactical missiles?

<GL-Jeff> Dan – actually, if you can obtain sulfur and other primary ingredients, you can use the invention skill to create giant cannons like in FF7

<GL-Jeff> those can be used to launch fetuses machine gun style

<GL-Jeff> ../next

<MadmanSBR> will I be able to dig up?

<GL-Jeff> madman – yes. digging is vertical

<GL-Jerry> …/next

<Gothic_Moth> question: If a tree falls in the woods in Dawn, does a baby fetus hear it?

<GL-Jerry> Only if the tree has an EAX soundcard(I just learned that word today)

<Daddy> i wonder if dawn is lessening the number of cretins on the horizons boards.

<GL-Jeff> Actually we plan to incorporate all of Horizons within Dawn

<GL-Jerry> ../next

<MadmanSBR> will everyone’s penis size be the same? or will different races have different penis sizes?

<GL-Jerry> I just modeled blue potions so use your imaginations on the penis upgrades

<MadmanSBR> will the women’s tits be big?

<GL-Jerry> the womens tits will be 60 polys(I just learned that word)

<GL-Jerry> ../next

<Gothic_Moth> Only 60?!?

<Gothic_Moth> I want 40,000 poly boobage!

<GL-Jerry> 40000000 poly tits will be in the expantion

<GL-Jerry> ../next

<MadmanSBR> will Dawn pay me for playing their game?

<GL-Jerry> Only if you agree to ‘fluff’ GMs

<GL-Jerry> ../next

<Gothic_Moth> Oh, will Dawn offer Full Screen Anti-Aliasing or Transform lighting?

<GL-Jerry> Gothic: oh yeah, those things are good right?

<GL-Jerry> ../next

<Gothic_Moth> Will Dawn be running on an OC3 or an Okragon 303baud modem?

<GL-Jerry> 7654Ghx

<GL-Jerry> ../next

<MadmanSBR> will Dawn have more than 10 kinds of sponges? and will you have a lufa as well?

<GL-Jerry> Anus sponges are in

<GL-Jerry> ../next

<MadmanSBR> Do you have crabs?

<GL-Jerry> to get crabs you have to touch lady parts right?

<GL-Jerry> ../next

<DanSTC> MadmanSBR> No, but you can catch them from aZZraping corpses without protection.

<GL-Jerry> STDs are in for corpses

<GL-Jerry> ../next

<Gothic_Moth> Question: Will Dawn offer grapes in both the unpeeled and peeled varieties?

<Daddy> do you play games to bake bread, or to launch fetuses from catapults?

<GL-Jerry> I play games to bake fetuses

<GL-Jerry> ../next

<Gothic_Moth> Will we get phat l3wt if we sell our sons to the gods?

<GL-Jerry> human sacrific is in

<GL-Jerry> ../next

<DanSTC> Is there a tailoring and cooking skill for edible underwear?

<GL-Jerry> You need sex skill to make sex toys

<GL-Jerry> ../next

<Daddy> gl-jeff: first off, i just want to say what great game devs and programmers you are, and will you please spank my ass and call me momma. Secondly, what’s the youngest age you can reproduce at in dawn, and if you’re pregnant, and get high, is the baby retarded?

<GL-Jerry> You can get pregnant at 5. Boozing while pregnant gives the baby better strength(like my brother)!

<GL-Jerry> ../next

<Lum_> Can you be a Cardassian?

<GL-Jerry> You can emote being Cardassian but only if practicing anal sex

<GL-Jerry> ../next

<Staberinde> If I spank my monkey and call it willy, will Dawn reflect this?

<GL-Jerry> cock names are in

<GL-Jerry> ../next

<DanSTC> Will there be woman-raping tentacle penis monsters in the game, and if so, can I watch them go to town urry cat amazon half-nude chicks?

<GL-Jerry> Camping devil cock spawns is needed to craft dildos

<GL-Jerry> ../next

<Senate> If I roleplay a lesbian nazi hooker will that affect my character’s reputation, even if I give sexual o every person I see walk past me on the street?

<GL-Jerry> Nazi and lesbian factions are incompatable

<GL-Jerry> ../next

<DanSTC> We will reward the women who have the most sex in the game.

<GL-Jerry> Dan: Bukkake is in

<GL-Jerry> ../next

<DanSTC> Is there a “Pimp slap” emote?

<GL-Jerry> Pimp slap is emotable but there are better ways to control your prostitutes

<GL-Jerry> ../next

<MadmanSBR> will I be able to live if I have my head chopped off?

<GL-Jerry> Headless Horseman is a playable race

<GL-Jerry> ../next

<Senate> If I find an exploit where I can rape women through walls for good XP, will you nerf the rape skill, and/or ban players that also use this technique?

<GL-Jerry> wall punching cocks are in

<GL-Jerry> ../next

<Darwin`s_Hand> What the FUCK is going on in here?

<DanSTC|Charity> We’re interviewing GL-Jerry, the maker of Dawn. :)

<GL-Jerry> you are free to emote interviewing me

<GL-Jerry> ../next

<MadmanSBR> what about pac man emulators?

<GL-Jeff> Dawn will have Pong in it.

<calenth> of COURSE they’re going to implement penlties for being female.

<calenth> i don’t even need to see their docs to know they ahve that.

<GL-Jeff> well I’ve never actually touched one, but I imagine that breasts are like counterbalances that prevent you from running properly.

<GL-Jeff> okay tonight’s topic is: playing females in Dawn.

<GL-Jeff> First the “gods” will find all the loser guys who pretend to be women, and “deal” with them

<Lietgardis> SEXY CHAINMALE PLZ, JEFFIE-POO

<GL-Jeff> All women will be r33t and look like Lietgardis.

<GL-Jeff> only in chainmail

< Darwin`s_Hand> Jeff: Will there be birth animations in Dawn?

< Darwin`s_Hand> and how realistic will they be?

<GL-Jeff> Darwin`s_Hand – no but there is nothing to prevent you from emoting /me has birth with so and so

<GL-Jeff> Our game engine is 74.3% complete so our current shots are rendered

<GL-Jeff> but they are fair representations of what we plan for Dawn

<Savant> Jeff, will there be combat in Dawn, or will we need to do /me fights a_monster_00.

<GL-Jeff> There will be fights because players will be *DEFENDING REAL PLAYER GOVERNMENTS AND LAWS*

<GL-Jeff> Also, we have a large gold sink in Dawn that players will enjoy

<GL-Jeff> no, but it has both hot and cold water taps

<aureus> does it have one of those spray nozzles?

<GL-Jeff> yes – to clean dishes before putting them in the gold dishwasher

<Lietgardis> GL-Jeff: If you get in a player-made hot tub with a masculine man, is it possible to become pregnant?

<GL-Jeff> Lietgardis – only if he gains access to your labia

<GL-Jeff> we have made copulation very detailed and realistic to real world conjunction

* GL-Jeff we think. we’re not really sure

<Savant> Jeff: Will we have a Pinch Boob emote?

<GL-Jeff> no, but we will use the UO animations method where you use command words like .bow and .salute

<GL-Jeff> currently, we’re finishing work on .grabankles

<Lietgardis> Will you have studded leather gorgets?

<GL-Jeff> We will have metal studs that players can punch onto any object in the game, including other players

<Savant> Jeff: Will women who end their “cycles” have Hot Flashes, and how will they effect them in-game?

<GL-Jeff> Savant – There will be no cycles for anyone to ride in our game. it is medieval based

<da_slog> Will you be able to make fetuses move like puppets?

<GL-Jeff> check the FAQ – we’ve addressed every single permutation of any variation of the word fetus ad nauseum

<Lietgardis> Can I conduct medical research on them?

<GL-Jeff> yes, and if you study medicine, you can perform surgery on players. if you are good enough, you can find unwilling subjects

<Lietgardis> Will I be banned if I name myself Mengele?

<GL-Jeff> We would prefer to keep Mexican politics out of our game as it will destroy the careful RPG element that will dominate our free form game

<Izang> Jeff: Will we be able to cook the afterbirth or use it as an improvised weapon?

<GL-Jeff> Izang – we are no longer addressing fetus related questions.

<GL-Jeff> check the FAQ

<Delusion> Can I make fetus jerky?

<GL-Jeff> YES YES

<Soulflame> How can anyone take this seriously?

<GL-Jeff> Soulflame> Read the FAQ

<Izang> Jeff: When can we expect an SGI IRIX port?

<GL-Jeff> You can expect it as soon as powerplay is completed, Izang.

<Savant> What about Dreamcast?

<GL-Jeff> Savant> No. Not until 3d studio max is available. But you can still be a member of our brilliant roleplaying community!

<Soulflame> Dawn will be released on PS2, PSX, Gamecube, N64, Dreamcast, Mac, AIX 4.3.3, Mac, Amiga, Coleco, and TI99?

<GL-Jeff> Our current client is experiencing some problems on the Apple 2e

<GL-Jeff> But it should begin running smoothly as soon as we figure out how to boot our floppy disks.

<Avie> what about the PET – will you support that?

<GL-Jeff> Avie> Yes. We will also support “Catz” and “Dogz” and “Oddballz”

<GL-Jeff> now, /next

<Delusion> <Soulflame> How can anyone take this seriously?

<Delusion> Utter blind faith and naivete.

<GL-Jeff> Del> each game box will ship with a bottle of Jack Daniels to help you get into the game.

<Delusion> Will Dawn support MIDI?

<GL-Jeff> Our net code client is actually based on MIDI.

<GL-Jeff> Meaning that it’s every bit as grating and annoying.

<ArcadianDelSol> Jeff- will there be hats in Dawn?

<GL-Jeff> Yes, we will have all kinds of hats. Even little aluminum ones to block out the martian mind control rays that our fanbase seems to be so fond of.

<Izang> Jeff: Can I ride a horse wearing nothing but a mage hat?

<GL-Jeff> Izang> No, but the house can wear nothing but you.

<GL-Jeff> er, horse.

<GL-Jeff> Darn this keyboard! I AM SO SICK OF DEALING WITH YOU PEOPLE! THIS KEYBOARD HATES ME!

<GL-Jeff> Next question!

<Izang> Jeff: Will there be native FUFME support?

<GL-Jeff> Izang> No, but we do plan on stripping naked and dousing our bodies with coca cola while we roll in the T-shirt money you sent.

<GL-Jeff> Next question!

<StackedMidgets> Jeff: Will you be able to sacrifice aborted fetuses to satan?

<GL-Jeff> Aborted fetuses are already dead. Next question.

<GL-Jeff> oH nUOOOO!@!@ IT SI TEH FLYING ELVESSAA!! 1 TTHEY R BACK AAAGAINASASS!@!#!

<GL-Jeff> whOOpss!!@ riTAlIN TiEM#!@!

<GL-Jeff> Okay, better now.

<GL-Jeff> Next question.

<Delusion> Will there be harmonicas in Dawn?

<GL-Jeff> Del> We do not have harmonicas, but we do have plenty of cat gut. We presume you could /emote on that cat gut as if it were a musical instrument.

<GL-Jeff> anyway, /next

<Delusion> WILL I CRAMP UP IF I DO A LOT OF MELEE FIGHTING WITHOUT HAVING DONE STRETCHING EXERCIZES FIRST?

<GL-Jeff> Del> Yes, and make sure you wait an hour before fighting after you eat or you will get a sideache and lose automatically. Next question.

<ArcadianDelSol> sideache?

<ArcadianDelSol> is that yiddish?

<ArcadianDelSol> oy I gots a sideache!

<GL-Jeff> SIDEACHE!@!@ SHUTS UPZORS!@@! I HATE JOO PPLS@!@!! AARRGHGH!@!@

<GL-Jeff> EVERYONE SHUTS UP!@!@@#!!

<GL-Jeff> OO! A pony on tv!

<GL-Jeff> Okay, I’m alllll better now.

<GL-Jeff> next question!

<Izang> Jeff: Would you consider trading 3D Max 3.5 material libraries with me? You have some great ones in the screenshots.

<GL-Jeff> next question

<Izang> Jeff: Will Cybiko be supported?

<GL-Jeff> We are currently working on a version of our client that will run on palm pilot.

<GL-Jeff> We have a version up and running on my best friends tamagotchi, but he wont let me play with it.

<GL-Jeff> NEXT QUESTION! GOD I HATE EVERYONE!

<GL-Jeff> My life is a black pit and I am it’s orifice.

<GL-Jeff> DO NOT ASK QUESTIONS OF THE DARK LORD! YOU KNOW NOT OF THE FORCES YOU INVOKE, FLESH ONE!

<GL-Jeff> Anyway, back to our fun and exciting game.

<GL-Jeff> Next question!

<Delusion> Will Dawn players be able to spell “ASSHOLE” out in trout?

<GL-Jeff> Only if the trout aren’t flopping around.

<GL-Jeff> Next question!

<Staberinde> How does Dawn’s grease cutting power compare to other, more established games such as UO and EQ?

<GL-Jeff> Staber> Dawn’s grease-cutting action power is far superior to other brand X detergants.

<GL-Jeff> Next question!

<Staberinde> If Dawn were a car would it be a Yugo or a Hyundai?

<GL-Jeff> Staber> It would be a porsche with a giant cardboard spoiler.

* ArcadianDelSol once played the role of Fellatio with a “Shakespeare in the park” troupe

<ArcadianDelSol> we never had a show tho. I only remember the rehearsals.

<GL-Jeff> We here at glitchless encourage roleplay. Which is why we’ll reward all roleplaying with immediate killings, lootings, and bannings.

<Izang> Jeff: Will you be playing a god in game?

<GL-Jeff> Izang> My ego demands I must play as THE god. YOU WILL ALL BOW BEFORE ME!

<GL-Jeff> Next question.

<ArcadianDelSol> Jeff – is it true that you play King Jeffy on your web game and that you are killling newbies with 1 million point hits?

<GL-Jeff> Arcadian> I w1LL oWNZ j00 4 s4Y1ng tht4!!@!111

<Izang> Jeff: Jeff how many sexual character animations will be in the game?

<GL-Jeff> Izang> Read the section in the FAQ on the Kama-sutra.

<Mr_Poppinfresh> Jeff: I just want to say, I really love your work and keep up the good work! Now, will you be able to fire roleplayed fetuses out of your straight tunnel into the center of the player-run baking district, thus ruining the economy by splattering dead baby all over the gold reserves?

<GL-Jeff> Mr poppinfresh> that question should be taken out and shot. NEXT!

*** Quits: GL-Jeff (Connection reset by peer )

*** Joins: GL-Jeff (Daniel_St.@f64ccaa7.san.14056255.com.hmsk)

<Delusion> GL-Jeff?

<GL-Jeff> Sorry about that. My business partner who was underneith my desk, doing, ah, server maintinence tripped over the cord.

<Izang> Jeff: Will you be releasing the source code to Dawn before or after the Sparc 2 port?

<GL-Jeff> Izang> No, not until we can get the source code for our warez version of Adobe photoshop.

<Lum_> WHAT A COINCIDENCE

<Lum_> I’M WORKING ON A DAWN STORY

<GL-Jeff> AAAGH! LUM! IS IT THE DEVIL SPAWN HIMSELF! HERETIC! BURN!

* GL-Jeff puts fingers in the shape of a crucifix.

<GL-Jeff> Okay, how’s this: “YOU ARE ALL WORTHLESS AND WEAK! NOW DROP AND GIVE ME 20!”

<GL-Jeff> That concludes the Third Dawn HoC.

TWINKING TRUTH [Author: riprend]

Twinking\’e2\’80\’99s a complex issue. I\’e2\’80\’99m not going to pretend to be the almighty scholar of the MMORPGs and say it\’e2\’80\’99s part of an obsolescence process that\’e2\’80\’99s natural to any themed world. (although I can agree with such postulates) I choose to look at it from a different angle entirely – just who does it harm?

We\’e2\’80\’99ll start out with the harmed parties:

1.)\tab New players who interact with the twink New players, raw to the process, see someone in advanced equipment and naturally wonder about its entitlement to it. In addition, it detracts from their immersion in the world and creates a sense of jealousy at a caste-based world structure.

2.)\tab The twink himself. Every time someone zooms through these lower levels, it reduces the impact of the new player experience. New player areas are designed with the poverty player in mind. Without that inherent mindset, one quickly becomes even more disassociated from the game world than they already are. For some, the act of taking a twink through its paces irreparably ruins their game experience.

3.)\tab Players looking for popular \’e2\’80\’9ctwinkable\’e2\’80\’9d equipment for their mains. It causes both a supply problem for them (equipment drain) and a time issue for them \’e2\’80\ldblquote with high level characters farming these items out to their other characters, it creates great anger towards the higher level caste because of the increased inconvenience.

4.)\tab Developers responsible for dynamic quests. This is one of the hardest to resolve problems with twinking. How can one design low and mid-level dynamic quests with such a disparity in character achievement? More and more with twinking, time-based quests have to be turned to as low level players\’e2\’80\’99 abilities increase. Look no further than EverQuest to see this, as foraging quests become more and more popular \’e2\’80\ldblquote a purely time-based endeavour.

As expected, I\’e2\’80\’99ve got case-by-case solutions.

1.)\tab Levels as an economic commodity rather than a time-based one. What if veteran players could use money to purchase level training for their characters? No doubt the amount of money would have to be scaled to the progression of the economy, possibly leading to more problems for developers. But as MMORPG players begin to expect more dynamic content in their games, more developers will likely be required to support this. In addition, this type of macroeconomical COULD be coded for autonomy\’e2\’80\ldblquote it was attempted in UO, and I\’e2\’80\’99ve got no doubt that with a successful evaluation of its problems could be successfully performed with lessons learned.

Also to consider in this is the fantastic money sink it provides. Players get NOTHING material for their money. Thus, it\’e2\’80\’99s a money sink that never grows old. The problem with buyable rares in UO as a money sink is that after a while, rares just aren\’e2\’80\’99t so, well, rare. And since that\’e2\’80\’99s where their intrinsic value lies, it\’e2\’80\’99s a money sink that\’e2\’80\’99s only a quick fix until the developer has to come up with another Shiny Thing for the player to spend his money on.

2.)\tab For this, the developer must take care to leave his lesson on the player the first time he enters the world. Class-based experiences aren\’e2\’80\’99t the way to go. In EverQuest, players undertake newbie quests that require no cooperation to achieve. In a game where grouping is inherently required later in life, the proper solution is to make sure those lessons are taught at an early age.

The second benefit of this is that players who learn these types of skills early will not encounter the frustrations when they have to become dependent on others for their gains. When you\’e2\’80\’99ve taken the glory out of soloing and made it crystal clear from the outset that this is a MMORPG and not Baldur\’e2\’80\’99s Gate from the outset, you won\’e2\’80\’99t see players butting up a perceived glass ceiling and turning to secondaries for that power rush they get when they\’e2\’80\’99re once more able to kill everything in sight by themselves.

3.)\tab As controversial as it is, I firmly believe that less no-drop items and more randomization of placement of desirable items is the way to go here. Asheron\’e2\’80\’99s Call has it right in most of this regard \’e2\’80\ldblquote the best weapons can be those you find at the most unexpected times. While it\’e2\’80\’99s not entirely realistic, it\’e2\’80\’99s one hell of a lot less fiction breaking than having King Ugrakunooga coughing up his Sword of Slaying 12 hours around the clock. While it\’e2\’80\’99s still going to cause resentment, it\’e2\’80\’99s a lot less obvious. A player roaming around a high level drop zone for his twink is going to cause a lot less anguish for a regular character than seeing him sitting on his ass at the culmination of his dungeon raid with his friends, farming out items from what the hopeful sees as a true immersive challenge.

4.)\tab This is the toughest of these to resolve, and my solution is more than likely going to spawn a long bitchfest. There should be no low level and mid-level dynamic quests, just like EverQuest. This is justified for several reasons:

a.)\tab The epic feel of dynamic content is best achieved when the participating characters are of epic stature.

b.)\tab Players should have a carrot in front of their stick. High levels become more and more meaningless as time wears on, as the game system becomes more and more familiar to the character. But when pitted against a living, breathing opponent never before seen and never analyzed in crucial detail, the experience becomes one of revitalization. This should be something players should labor for.

c.)\tab New players should be taught an appreciation for their environment from the start. The system should be designed where the epic feel so lacking for the high level players can be achieved in the regularly designed game. I can recall my first time in Befallen, and the exhilaration I got whenever we finally made it past that third level door, only to find (to relate back to the earlier point) high level players farming the elf skeleton for the Thex Mallet. The moment was ruined.

d.)\tab In concordance with c.), game system quests for high level players should be sparse. Killing the monster/retrieving the item only is exciting for a limited amount of time. The challenge has dissolved, and the desire has corroded. Instead of spending time on rote quests, developers should spend their resources on improving dynamic quest tools and in participating in the worlds of their crafting. (This, of course, gives the side benefit of developers expulsing the Ivory Tower Syndrome.)

In summation, twinking is a problem not of failed equipment dynamics, but of a failure of the original game to entertain the player in his role. If careful design is followed, a player should feel confident enough in his first character\’e2\’80\’99s abilities to simply not have the desire or the inclination to make another one. Making every player feel useful is the primary task of the developer, and when done correctly, problems like twinking eliminate themselves.

I WANT TO BELIEVE [Author: lum]

I know, this site concentrating on Glitchless and Dawn is sort of overkill. I mean, come on. What’s next for LtM.net, a scathing expose of cybersex on UO emulator shards? Pointing out that Gordon Wrinn has a slight tendency to rub people the wrong way? A deep, probing chemical analysis of every burp made by an employee of Wolfpack Studios? (Oh sorry, that’s over on the Shadowbane site.) I mean, come on. This is too obvious for words. You’ve got one really, really really heartfelt coder and 5 artists. Who the hell are we to judge that they can’t crank out a product that puts the best efforts of hundreds of experienced programmers, network admins, database analysts, motion capture operators, texturing and modeling artists, world designers, and Adrick to shame? I mean, Jesus, people, don’t make me do this! I feel like I’m poking the eyes out of a small cute Dalmatian with a hot iron! Hmm, that sounds like fun, actually. Anyway.

You people are mean. Mean mean mean. (stomps foot) Because of all the coverage this site has been giving Dawn, which obviously is going to be the best goddam product Mankind has produced since nylon, some of you have been visiting Dawn’s message board, on days that their ISP hasn’t shut Glitchless down for having too much web traffic. (UPDATE: Shortly after I posted this update, their forums did in fact die the One True Death.) Some of you have not had Glitchless’ best interests at heart. Some of you thought these hard, hard working individuals should be made fun of. BAD YOU.

In response, the loyal supporters of Glitchless fought back the only way they knew how — they posted my name, address and phone number which they pulled off a WHOIS search for the lumthemad.net domain. (I wish I could say that I was shortly visited by hundreds of penitent Dawn worshippers who wished only to turn me to the light, but to this point I’ve not even gotten a single call. Pity.) And Jeff Friedman, the brave visionary behind the greatness of Glitchless, had this to say:

Say your neighbor claims he’s putting in this incredible pool in his backyard with 100 foot slides that don’t irritate your sensitive buttocks (if you don’t have sensitive buttocks then just make believe for this scenario) and he’s wondering if you and the other neighbors would like to come and test out his amazing new pool for FREE. There are two courses of action you can now take:

A) Tell your neighbor he’s full of shit, point out the fact that you’ve only seen THREE bulldozers in his backyard, start a rant website and shamelessly pass out flyers to all the neighbors asking them to visit the site so you can feel special about your ability to code HTML (language of champions) on notepad, and then harass your neighbor with 4am calls and threats “YOU’LL NEVER MAKE THAT POOL YOU FAKE!”

B) Wait till the pool is done and test it out for FREE, making sure to thank your neighbor for his generosity.

We’re busting our asses trying to make this game everything we’ve promised. If you don’t like what we’re doing or how we’re doing it then simply go away. I will not tolerate the ignorance being displayed on these boards by the rant site sheeple and webmasters (many of which come from the SAME IP address…how classy) as it is not healthy for the morale of my team.

On the Derek Smart scale of removal from reality, I give it a six. (Bonus points for him implying that our site was begun solely to give Dawn shit.)

But there really is a point here, and it’s why I decided to write this article. You see, the Dawn saga shines a light on three segments of our community, that frankly could use some analysis beyond the usual South Park Anal Cow Probes.

The people who want to mock. We got some bitter folks out there. They read sites like this, and others, solely to find out what target next to lock in the gunsights. They’re convinced that everyone who plays MMORPGs are savagely desperate people who need purging from the gene pool. Tthat they spend all day finding more and more cruel ways to mock in fact makes them more desperate than those they torment, but for some reason that fails to register. Glass houses and whatnot.

Do we fall in that category? Sometimes. I personally have tried not to vent the Holy Spleen of Rage on unworthy targets, but sometimes it is hard to know what is or isn’t worthy. And sometimes I wonder whether I have any right to judge.

The people who want to write. The MMORPG community is supporting a lot of websites. They need news. They need drama. They need meat. The networks that sponsor them jump on every game announcement with the gleam in their eyes of yet more ad banner impressions waiting to be fulfilled, so we see dawn.stratics.com and midmorningvault.ign.com and earlyafternoonshowers.xrgaming.com on an annoyingly regular basis.

You think the network managers don’t understand that many of these announced games, like Dawn, have little to no realistic chance of seeing the light of day? Of course they do. Analyzing the MMORPG market is their job – in many cases, their full time job. And they see that even if a community grows up around a game that has zero chance of success, they are still a community, and that community needs places to gather, right?

Do we fall in that category? In some ways, yes. We don’t relentlessly cover every MUD coder who suddenly had a brain fart involving DirectX and a freeware 3D engine, but like everyone else, we stare at the site wondering what the hell will be on it tomorrow. Only we actually have to, you know, figure that answer out. Occasionally the answers we came to have been the wrong ones. Most of the time I think they are the right ones, and the fact that some of you still seem fond of the place bears that out, I think. But it’s still worthy of some thought.

The people who want to believe. These are the saddest of all — almost all veterans of other MMOGs, they know that there has to be better then what they’ve already experienced, there has to be someone who knows how to capture the mad ecstasy of that tiny, tiny gleam of light that they once saw. They know this. You aren’t going to convince them otherwise.

In Everquest, they’re called VAKs. In Ultima Online, the acronym is dispensed with and they’re simply called “Origin ass kissers” (or “roleplayers”, if your tastes lean that way). In Asheron’s Call they’ve been called “bumpfuzzlers”. In Horizons – well, let’s just not go there. But in every game community, large and small, old crusty game or gleam in a mad coder’s eye, there exist the same group of folks – the true believers. Take a look at some of the responses to Jeff Friedman’s post above.

Keep it up GL, and feel damn proud of the community that has grown into a huge one in no time. It’s your effort and yours alone, so cadeau and keep up the spirit.

We believe, we hope and we cheer your way.

I for one back you all the way and thank you for an opportuinity to play and test a game like this : )

In my opinion Dawn will revolutionize the gaming industry.

I’d just like to say that for all the hard work you’re putting into dawn, Dawn will not be your greatest accomplishment. The REAL fruits of your labor will be the games that follow dawn 2 or 3 years from now.

You have just banished every doubt I may have had. You have shown you have spirit, goals, ambition. You have shown you will not back down or be discouraged. You have earned honor and my respect.

One group jumps on these folks because they are so obviously gullible, so easily mocked. Another group jumps through hoops for these folks, dogfighting furiously over the rights to make ever more intricate homes for their n-th-level-removed planning for in-game clans for nonexistent games and character creation for characters you can’t create yet and such.

But behind it all, there are quite a few people who are voting None of the Above. They want the vision of utopia, the dream of a world that transcends our own. They just want a game, a community, an alternate life that works.

Do we fall in that category? Guilty.

LET’S PLAY GREENSPAN [Author: Riprend]

The basic problem is that money is stagnant. It piles up in players\’e2\’80\’99 hands and goes to fund increasingly silly ventures. In UO, the silliness vortex was incredibly evident. When you\’e2\’80\’99ve got enough money that you have a castle that\’e2\’80\’99s running out of room on lockdowns, you\’e2\’80\’99ve got a real problem.

For the solution, let\’e2\’80\’99s introduce an entirely new feature: INTERACTIVE RANTING with Mad Lums. Your Lums are weapons, armors, magic items, rares, guilds, and PKs. Here we go:


High-end ( ) are noticeably absent in UO. Without premium ( ) that set the player apart not just in appearance, but in overall efficacy, gold will inevitably pile up and be used on stupid looking and useless ( ). If you\’e2\’80\’99re worried about balance, just set up housing space in some godforsaken place and they\’e2\’80\’99ll flock there for these ( ). UO is not meant to be an online freak show, but with all these worthless ( ), it\’e2\’80\’99s been one for some time now. I implore the at least mildly enlightened design team – do something about these ( )!

Now cut and paste that bad boy and send it off to your favorite designer. Not that I\’e2\’80\’99d be biased, but this guy would be a good start.

In our next project, Everquest and Asheron\’e2\’80\’99s Call economy, the answer is a bit more complicated. Both of these games are inherently unfriendly to the casual player – success in one requires uberity, success in the other requires participation in storylines that require uberity. In the process of gaining uberity, the average gamer is left out in the cold with substandard equipment that the uberitors have passed down. But with a little Reaganomics, we can fix these, too.

These two have something greatly in common – lazy coders. Back in the day, the designers passed down a dictum that probably looked a lot like this.

Re: Coding Team

We\’e2\’80\’99ve decided to put in some items that are really neat looking and make a player real effective, but we need some way to, well, you know, make sure they stay kind of limited. We don\’e2\’80\’99t want everyone running around with these fuckers. Code us in a way to hold them down by, say, tomorrow.

Thanks,

Your Designers.

The most obvious path of action for the coders, aside from pillaging and slaughtering a design team that consisted of a bunch of people with psychology degrees who had never written a line of code in their life, was to implement quests that required getting rare loot off of rare monsters and making it so only the people in the right place at the right time could get them.

The other way, after a little more thought, was to make quests that only rewarded the person who did them. \’e2\’80\’9cHmm,\’e2\’80\’9d the thought went at the coffee pot,\’e2\’80\’9dI don\’e2\’80\’99t want to go through all the trouble of coding different systems to recognize these just to appease these numbnuts… Hey, I know! Let\’e2\’80\’99s just introduce some code where only if you do the quest or kill the monster, the phat lewts stay on you forever, and you can\’e2\’80\’99t give it away or sell it!\’e2\’80\’9d

With that, the no-drop item was born, and Baby Jesus puked over the side of the manger. (And no, Mary wasn\’e2\’80\’99t at the Taco Cabana.) What they didn\’e2\’80\’99t anticipate was the wound this would open on the game economy.

Uberitors immediately set out after these items, making a collection of overpowered items simply through the virtue that they were rare. Less and less, they went after items that they could sell, because they didn\’e2\’80\’99t have to buy anything. And when the high-end player had the full set of planar armor, or the Atlan Staff, or the greater shadow armor, or the… you get the picture. The trickle-down stopped.

The regular items that could be traded around stopped being produced in favor of these l33t r0xx0rers. The best example of this is the Testament of Vanear in EverQuest. Once a day, a low to midlevel soldier drops an item that can be turned in (with minimal effort for the rest of the quest… as little as two gold can be spent in doing it) for a +10 wisdom, +10 mana no-drop holdable book. This item is something wisdom-based casters frequently keep from their 25-30 days all the way up to 50+.

By the pure virtue that it\’e2\’80\’99s rare, EverQuest designers felt it was excusable to put in an overpowered, near-essential item. Thus, they killed off any reason to make money in-game by selling off items. Supply and demand of decent items remained constant, keeping the casual player out in the cold.

The worst example, though, is EQ planar armor.Planar armor devastated the high level economy. By taking money completely out of the picture by making all of it no-drop, the trickle completely stopped. Some of the best tradeable armor in the game is still approximately the same price it was when the game was released. Worse, the nature of the planes made it so only members of uberguilds could enter it – and since it was no drop, players had the choice of having substandard armor or joining one.

And of course, as has been shown, that led to guilds squabbling, MOB calendars, and eventually, guild bannings. All the while, the person who doesn\’e2\’80\’99t want to be uber is consistently shut out of the process and the game.

Maybe, just maybe, if those coders way-back-when had decided to take the road less taken rather than the one with the drop-off into a ravine at the end, our games today wouldn\’e2\’80\’99t be so discouraging for the great number of players who work, go to school, and have other things to do besides playing a game. Maybe, just maybe, players would quit camping hours for these rare spawns and get back to good old fashioned dungeon crawls with their buddies.

The no-drop flag is one of the most unrealistic and hurtful design concepts there is. And it all results from code that takes the easy way out.

DAWN PATROL, PART DEUX [Author: myschyf]

The game itself is a CGI script and on the Kingdoms website GL-Jeff says it took him three days to write it. Its ridiculously simple. There are no graphics. Its not even a true-text game. Its sort of a quasi-text quasi-GUI game. One makes a character by choosing a character name and picking a race from a drop down menu. The choices are human, troll, ogre, drow, some other stuff I didn’t recognize, and some I’ve undoubtedly forgotten. I tried the first four and there doesn’t seem to be any discernable advantages to picking one over the other. After that there are two windows sitting side-by-side. One has a drop-down menu for the monsters you can fight. You start by fighting a magician’s apprentice and go up from there. The other window has a drop-down menu of all the people you can fight.

Every time you kill a monster you get one stat point in each stat (which you do not roll or pick to begin with). Every time you go up 10 stat points you go up a level. So you start out 10 in each stat at level 1. When you reach 20 in each stat (which would be 10 kills later) you go to level 2. How do you fight a monster, you might ask. Well I’ll tell you how. You click on the button that says ‘fight.’ I kid you not. After you do that some text scrolls by that says:

“You hit the magician’s apprentice for 10 points!”

“The Magician’s apprentice swings and misses!”

“You hit the magician’s apprentice for 10 points!”

“The Magician’s apprentice swings and misses!”

“You hit the magician’s apprentice for 10 points!”

“You have slain a magician’s apprentice!”

One tends to ignore the text after seeing it once. Killing a monster nets the above-mentioned stats, some gold (depending on the level of monster killed) and text informing that you are tired. Clicking a button that says “rest” takes care of that pesky little problem however. Well that’s the extent of the game. Occassionally one dies but in that case all that is needed is clicking a button that says “revive.” So the game is clicking fight, then rest, then fight, then rest over and over and over and over and over again.

Yet there are people that were playing that game all day long. There are people in this game that are level 600 and over. I had the window open while I worked and checked back periodically. And what, pray tell, would these people be doing? Why… they are pking newbies! That’s right folks. Grief playing at its finest.

Now did I mention that you get nothing for killing another person? Well that isn’t entirely true. If you go into an area without a king you can be the king. If you kill the king of an area you get to be the king. If you are the king you can set and collect taxes. With the taxes you can buy better armor and weapons. I think the best armor you can get — if my memory serves me right — is somewhere around 134 million.

But the PKs aren’t killing kings. They are just mindlessly killing newbies — for which they get… wait for it… nothing. The newbies lose nothing because when you die you lose nothing. Not stats, not experience, not levels, not gold… nothing. You may not even get bragging rights if said newbie is not paying attention to the message banter.

Now you may ask yourself, why is Myschyf telling us all this? Well it could be that I just wanted to spend an hour telling you about a lame game. But honestly, I think every developer out there should spend an hour or so playing this thing because, even though it is simplicity itself, this game gets two basic things right that the other games out there today and those being planned, get so wrong.

The first thing it does is reward you in some fashion for every single move you take. If you kill something — you gain. Period. It may be only one point, it may be only 2 gold. But you gain. Unless you die of course. But that brings us to the second thing it does right. The penalty for dying is no advancement. That’s it. You lose nothing. So all you lose is a minute or so when you die. There’s no going back to a check point, no retrieving a death pile, no tromping all over hells creation to find your corpse, a minute or so is all you lose. Just the amount of time it takes to click revive. It kind of takes the pain out of being pk’d.

Now why anyone would spend more than an hour looking at this (and really an hour is about 45 minutes longer than is needed) game is beyond me. Yet it managed to keep an IRC room full of people busy last night. And there are people upset that the server is down right now. God forbid they should be deprived of their god-given right to be assholes. Which this game gives them ample opportunity to be. However the damage they can cause is so minimized and the game is so insubstantial that the other thing it does is give one a window to look at these people through. As I watched this afternoon I found myself wondering if the average age of those playing was 15 and under and entertaining the horrifying thought that there might acually be adults in this crowd. Nonetheless what is quite clear is that these people were there for no other reason than to cause grief. There just isn’t enough game there to be into the game. And these are the people inhabiting (or in the case of UO and EQ — being banned from) the games we play today and will play tomorrow.

The final reason every developer should play this is to experience the ecstasy that is tendonitis coming from clicking fight, then clicking rest, then fight, then rest, over and over and over and over and over and over and over…..

They can massage their poor, tired wrists as they design their next game — hopefully with the thought that tendons wear out and repeated clicking can be bad.

ADMIT IT, YOU WERE LIKE A JUNKIE, JONESING FOR THAT DENSELY DAILY DOSAGE [Author: lum]

UO news: The spreading of the faction system to Chesapeake was indefinitely delayed tonight, surprising by our estimate six people (all of whom assumed factions were patched in when UO:R was released)… OK, I could be wrong, but it appears UOVault finally just died while no one was looking… …to preserve the integrity of our roleplaying experience, we feel that the recounting of the people surprised by the faction system’s delay must continue… …possibly the most honest web site name in the business, the Vortex of Crap opened for your, um, vortex of crappiness needs… …in a stunning reversal, we are appealing to the World Court to halt the recount of people surprised by the faction system’s delay… …HULK SMASH!… …the counting of people surprised by the faction system’s delay was turned asunder as thousands of absentee petitions to the GM queue from the Oceania, Hokuto and Formosa shards poured in… …new on UO Powergamers, how to build the perfect mage… …ok, we’ll stop with the lame counting jokes. Unfortunately, CNN refuses to join with us in this pledge…

EQ news: Everyone’s favorite EQ designer, Abashi “Mr. Wrinn if you’re nasty”, weighs in on a Whineplay thread titled “Verant vs. the Players“. Short version: NO WE’RE NOT!. Check here for the long version… …Alan “I WORK HERE REALLY” VanCouvering weighs in on arguments posed by the latest victims of the Nerf Stick, mages. Again, Caster’s Realm has the important bits… …Absor also acknowledged what shamen found out – they got nerfed too. Here he explains why a spell that supposedly works effectively indefinitely suddenly was changed to run out when you’re out of mana. Shamen: NOT HAPPY

AC news: Storming the cathedral or just portalling on in? Commemorate your fantasy achievement with the DerethCam! Not available in Darktide, Tholluxe Paells, or Hokuto… …Gamespy is running a year-in-retrospective feature from Turbine…

Other news: J. the Eponymous, the MMOG world’s answer to Brenda Starr’s question, noticed a feature on Gamespot’s Shadowbane writeup: the dreaded reputation system! After some skillful sleuthing, he managed to wring a retraction from Gamespot: no, Shadowbane really doesn’t care if you kill thousands of newbies. It’s OK. Ashton-Kai still loves you deeply… …Raph Koster wrote a book, immediately making this website obsolete… …over in Camelot (“Camelot. Camelot! CAMELOT!!!! I looove to push the praaaam a lot!” OK, I’ll stop now.) the ever-quotable “Boy, I just know I’m going to get in trouble here…” Mahrin Skel explains how Everquest is broken and Camelot isn’t on the Camelot Vault boards and lets someone know on our boards that Mythic isn’t obligated to supply them with a steady stream of sheep…

Stupid news: Canada had an election too, really. And in Canadian fashion, their terminable arguments over dimpled chads are much more dignified…