LUMNEWS- TOTAL COLLAPSE REMIX [Author: Mako]

…According to Adrenaline Vault, Highlander Online (a little-publicized MMOG based off the cult series with promise of fourzors longsword hitz) and Dreamland Chronicles: Freedom Ridge have been cancelled. Highlander Online didn’t even reach the public relations stage, but Freedom Ridge was supposed to be a grand, modern sequel to X-Com and had quite a lot of fans. From reading the farewell post by the developers, Dreamland just couldn’t find a publisher. Ouch…

…a few new articles have been published on the ‘status of online journalism’ front. First off, the Washington Post has a (seven day old) article on the dim future of online news sites and their stock prices. Hmmm.. An industry that completely relies on advertising spawning an offshoot that has no method for effective advertising. Sounds like a plan! Oh, yeah, and eUniverse just coughed up its banner advertising program like a cheesy mass from a tuberculosis patient. Here’s a quote that might be interesting to think about, considering it comes from people who RAN a banner ad network for quite a while:

“It’s not that eUniverse is faltering, it’s just that banner advertising is no longer a viable option for anyone in this economy. Times have indeed changed. I’m sure you have seen (some of you firsthand) a few of our competitors come to a similar conclusion – given the current economy, it is no longer possible to maintain a profitable affiliate program.”

Oops! Our bad! We just sort of trudged on with a completely ineffective business model for a while to burn off our venture capital like napalm, thus causing a sudden collapse of the entire community instead of a gradual letdown. Shucks, now we all have to move to Geocities…wait, how does Geocities make money again? DAMN IT!…If anyone has any bright ideas on finding a replacement for the ad banner clusterfuck, our friends at Slashdot have a nice article and thread up on that very topic. Forty-first post!…

…We all know the MMOG community hasn’t been the most tolerant out there, and Jessica Mulligan’s latest ‘Biting the Hand‘ focuses on the new South Korean market for MMOGs. She doesn’t draw any earthshattering conclusions, but there are some interesting statistics–between 110,000 and 140,000 players logged into Lineage: The Bloodpledge during peak usage? Damn… The people predicting a limited total player base for the future MMOGs seem very, very off target right now…

…The Adrenaline Vault has two new articles up–one on the recent consolidations and buyouts in the gaming industry (EA and OSI, Microsoft and Everyone..why hasn’t Verant gotten in on this yet? [Edit: Well, since Sony owns Verant, it just goes to show you how much Everquest I play. That being none whatsoever.]), and another (far more interesting one) on video game violence. They call politicians, members of the media, and just about everyone else on their demagoguery and shock journalism. We knew the real report just said ‘More research is needed, because there’s no scientific proof the things you’re saying about interactive media is true’, but this article puts it all together, considers the other parts of the report itself, and the incredible lack of publicity the report was given after people realized it didn’t back up their arguments. In the last comments thread about this, someone made this point: ‘Any reports that support their opinions will be exaggerated, and anything that goes against them will be ignored.’ It’s coming true in a big way.

SHADOWBANE REVEALS DESIGN CHANGE, LICENSING DEAL WITH SANRIO [Author: myschyf]

In a stunning development, Wolfpack Studios announced that they are partnering with the Sanrio Company Ltd. of Japan to create “Hello Kitty Online”. “Hello Kitty Online”, formerly known as “Shadowbane”, will be brightly lit and festive and everyone will always be happy. “We really are targeting the 12-16 yr old young girl demographic with this release”, said Todd “Hello Warden” Coleman, Wolfpack’s founder and marketing director. “This game will feature demons and cats with anatomically correct genitalia that will provide a proper role model that today’s growing young woman can look up to.”

In a related devlopment, J. “J.” J., of Crossroads of Shadowbane, was placed on a round-the-clock suicide watch at Mercy General Hospital.

ULTIMA ONLINE GONE GOLD [Author: myschyf]

Surprising everyone, the orginal programming and design team of Ultima Online have announced that Ultima Online has finally “gone gold”.

“It’s been a long time,” said Rick Delashmit, one of the team’s programmers, “but we think the game is finally out of testing and ready for wide release. I feel confident we have one of the most throughly tested games in the country. Now I can get to work on the Macintosh port.”

Raph Koster, designer of UO, agreed. “Even though I’m currently working on Star Wars Galaxies, finishing Ultima Online has always been a cherished dream of mine. We’ve tested many systems of player justice and monster ecology, and I feel confident that we finally have a working model for a modern, first-generation online RPG.”

Players were said to be relieved that, after one of the longest beta test periods in history (which EA actually billed users for, in a somewhat controversial decision at the time) they would be able to play a game they had long anticipated. “I so want to meet Lord British in game”, said one. “That would rock.”

BELOW THE BELTWAY [Author: myschyf]

Below the Beltway

by Gene Weingarten

Sunday, February 25, 2001; Page W03

“Welcome. You’ve got mail.”

Attention Gene Weingarten, I acstain your contact through a reliable source, in my search for a foreign partner to assist me in my business. I am Ali Watara the son of late former Minister of Mines and Natural Resource during the time of Major Koromah, the former Military Head of Sierra Leone, who was massacred by president Tijani Kabba.

My brother and I are refugee here in Accra, Ghana . . . Before the death of my father some months ago he disclosed to me some money he had deposited in my name in a neighboring country in West Africa.

The total amount of the money is $92.5m. US dollars all in a security vault . . . I am seeking your assistance because my father has declared the record with the security company stating that his foreign partner form Denmark shall be the authorized person to make claim on this consignment. No name was given by my father as his foreign partner.

To this effect, I request to make the beneficiary your name as foreign partner to Claim this consignment. For your assistance, room is open for negotiations.

This is an interesting sounding proposal. Would there be some sort of financial consideration for my participation in this venture?

Gene Weingarten

I will like you to represent as my dads partner to make it possible for us to evoke this fund. For your participation in this transaction I am everready to offer you 15% of the fund, 5% for any expense that may be incured and 80% for my brother and I respectively.

Best regards.

Ali Watara

That is a great deal of money . . . but I am confused why you have chosen me. I would need to feel secure that you are seeking my partnership because you have a particular regard for me and my skills. I am one of those persons who deeply values and cherishes the esteem of persons with whom he does business. If this is just about money, I am not really interested . . . Also, do you believe in God? I only like to deal with people who are pious.

Your potential business partner,

Gene Weingarten

I appreciate the content of your mail, which clearly indicate your willingness to assist me effectively in realizing this golden opportunity. I have prayed and committed this transaction into the hands of God Almighty and I strongly believe that this relationship I am establishing with you on trust and in benevolent spirit will not lead to jeopardy . . . The lives of the rest of my family depend solely on this money and we cannot afford to gamble. That is why an expert like you is needed to lead me. Therefore, you will be required to come to Ghana immediately.

Ali Watara

Will I have to pay for these travel arrangements myself, prior to receiving my [$18 million] commission? . . . One more question, before we begin this adventure: Might it be possible, when I arrive, that I be able to meet the president of Ghana or possibly the commander of the Ghanaian armed forces? I enjoy meeting heads of state.

Gene Weingarten

Dear Mr. Gene,

Please take care of your traveling expenses and it shall be reimburst before the sharing of our percentages. About the issue of my chosing you, you see one thing I believe strongly is destiny. God work’s in a way that we humans hardly understand and that is why we call it miracle. I must do this business with a trust worthy foreign partner and that is why I prayed to God Almighty before my first contact with you.

Regarding the possibility of meeting powerful people when you come . . . I have a friend, a 32 year old son of one of the ministers who is widely connected in Ghana. He could possibly assist in that regards.

Mr. Watara

Dear Ali:

Super! One last question: You are not running the so-called “Nigerian Scam,” are you? That’s the infamous con game in which solicitations are faxed or mailed to Americans, preposterous schemes EXACTLY like yours, which play off Americans’ greed and any prejudices that might convince them they could make an easy buck at the expense of some backward African. And when these patsies get to Africa, they suddenly discover they need to pay out cash in bribes, and gifts of fountain pens, etc., and pretty soon they have spent thousands of dollars and never received a penny, and there never WAS any bank account! I ask because as I am sure you realize from my e-mail address, I am a writer at The Washington Post, and have even personally worked on a big story exposing the Nigerian Scam, and have spoken with Interpol officials, and if you WERE this group — I am not saying you are — then I would have to record our conversations, and our correspondence, and maybe even arrive in Africa with law enforcement officials, and write all about your operation.

Hoping to hear from you soonest!

Your pal,

Mr. Gene

No further correspondence ensued.

Gene Weingarten’s e-mail address is weingarten@washpost.com.

\’c2\’a9 2001 The Washington Post Company

VIVE LA CATHOLICISM [Author: Eldin]

Being Catholic (while my beliefs could in no way, shape, or form be construed as remotely Catholic), I can’t say I’m offended by much.

Though, being Ash Wednesday, I had a sausage biscuit for breakfast, which means I’m going directly to hell (Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200). I feel badly about it. I mean, my mom did go out of her way to make tuna fish for lunch. Ah well.

I do have to go to church today though. Parental requirement. And of course, this means one of my friends will be completely idiotic and say “Dude, you’ve got like, um, some dirt on your forehead.” Heathen spawn.

Because remember: Jesus saves…….money. Tax exemption and all. Which is a good thing. I mean, we really really needed a bunch of bronze statues from Italy for a courtyard no one wanted.

And the baptismal foot bath! Whoo hoo! Now that thing is sweet. I want one. Badly. We dont’t have a regular old baptismal font. We have like the holy jacuzzi. Which is really neat. No word on when they’re installing the water jets.

It’s ok though. Really. Because any faith that insists I drink alcohol first thing Sunday morning can’t be too shabby. The wafer isn’t much of a washer down, though. Always gets stuck on the roof of my mouth. It’s like eating a gauze pad.

Was anyone else frightened of Jesus hanging on the cross as a kid? It is kinda morbid. But I appreciate the hypocrisy of Catholic criticism of nudity in art, while there is a big old marble man in a speedo splayed out over the altar. But, I think the priests dig that in their own, uncanny, nutty way. It’s like a fashion show. (Swaddling cloth is in this season). Though, I can do without the thorny accesories. Baseball caps are good like that.

Of course Mardi Gras is a Catholic thing. And nothing screams Catholicism more than urinating in public. Though, if you’re feeling interpretive in a Geneva, Calvinistic sort of way, you can just call it a baptism by natural means (that brick wall in the alley needed to repent its sinful ways).

Virgins are big in Catholicism. Ok, well one of them is. Which makes the whole Mardi Gras nudity motif something of an odd thing. Then again, none of my Catholic friends have been virgins ever since someone slipped the tequila in the kool aid at Jason Gilles’s 15th birthday party.

Though, I can say, in one instance, we had to whip out the frankencense and mhyrr 9 months later.

But, no. Today’s Ash Wednesday, and I ate meat. And on Good Friday, I’ll probably have a corn dog. It’s the way of things. As long as the ressurection of Jesus results in my getting a chocolate and peanut butter easter egg on Easter Sunday, I’m downright fanatical. That sugary goodness truly is an enlightening experience.

Not to say I’m prophetical, and that I know I’ll be getting said Egg on Easter.

But, I want one.

Badly.

CLIMBING THE FACTIONS LADDER ONE MACRO AT A TIME [Author: Arcadian Del Sol]

For those who don’t play factions, I’ll give you a short little summary of how the system works. Eyes straight forward. Each time a faction player kills an enemy, he gets a point or a tally or a hash-mark or whatever you want to call it. I prefer to call them “pips”. This allows factions, guilds, and individual players to visit uo.com and see their current rank compared to the rest of the shard – boasting and chest-pounding ensues. But for some, there is little to boast about. They are bad. They are so bad they made me look good and I have been known to FORGET I’m carrying bandages (yes, that’s a true confession). For these sad-sack players, the only way to achieve prominence is to exploit loopholes in the system. Factions allows you to have only one character per shard as a participant – but you can own any number of UO accounts. So people like the creatively challanged “HehlafLOL” will create multiple faction participants and then proceed to slaughter them repeatedly. I’ll even go as far as to accuse this particular player of using unattended macros in order to attain such an obnoxious number of kills as two thousand plus. Until I’m able to play Ultima Online from a Palm Pilot, this is the story I’m sticking with. So whats to be done about this problem? I have an idea.

Any player who frequents the vendors owned by a GM fisherman knows how frustrating it is to be the sixth player to arrive. You can identify magic items there until the proverbial cows come home, but each time you click on that item, it will only offer the non-descript “a magical whatchamacallit.” Magic items only have five “slots” available. Each player who identifies this item is added to this short list until all five slots are full. Every player from that moment on will only see “a magical whatchamacallit” when they click on that object. The limit is there because tracking an unlimited number of players on every single magical item in Ultima Online would stop a Borg Cube in space, let alone a UO server.

So if for the same reasons we cannot track “players who killed me” because the resources cannot handle such an ulimited list (and in my case, the list reads like a Brittanian phone book), why not implement the same “five slots” design? Lets say five guys in the Council of Mages kill me. (BWAAAA haha hahah hahah!) okay seriously, let’s say five guys in the Shadowlords kill me and just as I’m leaving the Britain Healer Hut, a sixth Shadowlord runs by an drops me with a lobster fork. Then his name takes up slot number one, all the names shift down the list, and the former occupant of slot number five drops off the list – basically, his “pip” for killing me has just expired. The maximum number of “pips” any faction opponent could ever earn from me is five. Any kills beyond that, and he’s just working on his skill gains.

I’m sure that there will be plenty of faction macro beanie babies who will hate this idea, but on the other hand, I’m sure there are plenty of honest factions players who would love to see anything in the way of improvement.

So Mr. HahlafLOL, I await your comments.

NOT QUITE PERFECT [Author: Eldin]

Of Devs and Bugs

Asheron’s Call was born of high hopes and the supposed absence of mistakes learned from other games. In the very first Zone Chat on 8/6/99, we were assured:

Stucco@Zone: We will NOT release to the paying public something that is buggy. When we roll it out, it will be of high quality….

Of course, after a scant few months of release, on 12/1/99, that illusion was shattered:

Stucco@Zone> We will not rest until every bug is gone.

Since then, the community has known a laundry list of bugs and exploits that greatly alter game play. Many of these bugs have existed from day one.

I am tired, flat out tired, of hearing people tell me again and again that Asheron’s Call is a game where bugs are minor and are usually fixed quickly and efficiently. This is bullshit. Various ranting sites have undeservedly praised Turbine for its approach to bugs while denouncing UO and EQ for theirs.

The key factor setting AC apart from the other two is that Turbine has no approach to bugs. It’s easy to be consistent in policy when you have no policy at all. Frankly, Turbine won’t take any decisive action with bugs unless the server is practically on fire. Unless players destroy a significant portion of the game, dev action on bugs is slow in coming. The two most recent cases of emergency are the platinum scarabs fiasco and a server-crashing exploit.

A bug free game? Hardly. A game where Turbine deals with bugs intelligently? Not by a long shot.

When Exploiters Dictate Your Game

Turbine\’e2\’80\’99s approach to its player-base was a simple one in the beginning. In light of bannings by OSI and Verant, Turbine decided that its player-base was not at fault for any bugs or exploits. If exploits existed, they were simply the fault of the programmers, and any players using them would not be punished for their cheating ways.

This is an interesting approach by any dev team for any ORPG. It removes a basic unit of morality recognized by American law and society for over two centuries and introduces the following mind-boggling concept:

If you commit a crime, it is not your fault. It is the fault of those who enabled you to commit such a crime.

Friendly? Yes. Functional? Not quite.

The end result of Turbine’s permissive policy is the creation of a player-base beholden to exploiting. Indeed, exploiting is so prevalent in the game, a player must be well versed in the various bugs and exploits in order to even have a fair chance against his fellow player. In a PvP environment, if a player does not have knowledge of god-mode, run-healing, and various jumping “techniques,” he or she might as well not bother showing up.

The exploits within Asheron’s Call are not placing boxes in front of monsters, pre-casting, or using trapped pouches to ruin a paralyze spell. Those are common sense techniques which any player might learn on his or her own. AC exploits are somewhat more complex and subtle. Combat exploits within the game require a series of very well-timed keystrokes. The exploits are so complex in places that players simply set up macroing programs to perform the exploit for them.

Some will argue the bugs (and they are bugs) add an element of much needed skill to PvP. With Turbine’s tacit endorsement of bug abuse, I would think such “features” would appear in the game’s basic documentation so that all players might have an equal opportunity to take advantage of them. No such documentation exists, thus leading to groups of players who use more and more bugs and hoard knowledge of them with no fear of reprisal.

It is the lack of fear from exploiters that has slowly worn away the integrity of the game. When the platinum scarab bug was introduced in January, scores of players ran to the Tethana mage shop to earn billions of pyreals. The player base is now brazen with their exploiting; yet Turbine stands idly by.

What has this earned the company and AC? It has earned them third party programs replete with cheating mechanisms that ruin the game. Don’t want to fight? Set up a bot to do all the fighting for you. Don’t want to spend time earning the necessary materials for quest armor and weapons? A bot will do that for you as well. Tired of earning money the old fashioned way? Set up a portal bot which players pay you for transportation, even though you personally could be a thousand miles away from the game.

These are not UO macros used to take out the endless clicking of using one skill over and over. These are macroing programs used to effectively eliminate vast quantities of game material. The prevailing attitude creeping into the game is that players should not have to work for anything, and damn those who insist otherwise. These bots are the tip of the iceberg. As time moves on and players realize there are no limits to third party exploitation, the bots will become more complex, further undermining the quality of the game.

I Love You, Man

There is nothing inherently wrong with a company being friendly with the player-base. Actually, it is something each company should strive for. With the coming of Calandryll and Melantus at OSI, and the departure of Abashi from his customer-relations position at Verant, the two kingpins of online gaming have made great strides towards maintaining a positive relationship with its customers. The days of “Ban them all. Let God sort them out,” seems to have passed. Yet, these two games continue to ban exploiters and maintain the integrity of their games. (Well, with a few missteps here and there).

Turbine, from the beginning, fed off the illusion of mass player ill will towards OSI and Verant. Not only would they not ban exploiters, but they attempted to foster a relationship with certain notorious persons for the good of the game. The company believed exploiters would share their bug knowledge if there were no fear of reprisal.

The exploiters took great advantage of this policy. Soon after AC’s release, rumors flew about a certain
guild
discovering a dupe bug. The players dutifully reported to the devs the nature of the bug, thus allowing them to fix it . . . only after said players exploited it into the ground. There was the required denial by the exploiters, and the devs took no action against them, as promised.

However, can there be a doubt that exploiters maintain this practice? Before the platinum scarab bug was released for all the community to see by some sites, it was undoubtedly abused over and over well before the devs put in a hot fix. Before releasing the details of a bug, exploiters profit handsomely, then guarantee no other players might have the same opportunity.

The devs are now another tool at the disposal of exploiters. Interesting trend, no?

Because of an unreasonable desire to be liked, Turbine has time and again refused to take any decisive action against exploiters. And so the exploiters use them and destroy the integrity of the game. If a person can cheat, knowing that even if they are caught there will be no consequences, what is to stop them from doing so? That KoC is now the head guild of Darktide speaks volumes about Turbine’s policy. A guild banned from UO because of mass duping is king in a world where negative actions go unpunished.

We won\’e2\’80\’99t even get into what KoC did to reach their position on Darktide. (See Myschyf\’e2\’80\’99s comment)

What It All Means

There is much a company needs to do to maintain the integrity and spirit of its game. Banning must be an unfortunate and hopefully rare aspect. To tell players you will never punish them invites exploitation. Exploitation invites the unfair advantage of some players at the expense of others. Exploitation ruins a game. People at the short end of the exploiting stick will quit playing. The integrity of the game is worn down as the very spirit of the game is destroyed.

In future competitive games like Shadowbane and the Dark Ages of Camelot, where solid consequences come with PvP, the companies must take decisive action against exploiters. Otherwise they will see their game destroyed by rampant cheating and the wearing down of in game systems.

The only people praising Turbine for its vapid approach to exploitation are exploiters themselves. Of course they don’t want the bugs fixed. Of course they are perfectly happy with the way the game is. They do not want to see their advantages taken away.

Turbine hears this siren song and wrongly interprets it as their doing something right.

It is very, very wrong. Anyone who thinks that Turbine\’e2\’80\’99s policy bears repeating in any ORPG needs to take a good, hard look at the effects of that policy in game. I hope future games and current ones learn from the great mistake that Turbine has been making.

To be continued in the near future. . .

BEE BAH BOO BAH BEE BA BEE CHRRRRRR BEEYAW BEEYAW CHRRRRR BOIOIOIOING BEEYAW CHRRRR [Author: Arcadian Del Sol]

In development for years and recently announced just a few days ago, US Robotics has completed the preliminary testing of a new modem standard called v.92 (the current standard being v.90). To put this into layman’s terms, the hole in the wall just got a few inches bigger. Basically, the current stable of v.90 modems operate at 56kbps (bites per second) from server to modem (your ISP to you), and at 33.6kbps from modem to server (from you to your ISP). According the the press release, under the new standard, the client-to-server speeds can be increased to 48kbps, but this increase appears to be simply a ‘redirection’ of “excess download” bandwidth, allowing one to lower the 56kbps and raise the 33.6kpbs rates. In clergical terms, you are robbing Peter to pay Paul. Not as cool as an outright speed boost, this is still a welcome option for many dial-up users.

In addition to the adjustable transfer rates are the following new features, as described in the press release:

Modem On Hold

Users can suspend a data call, answer an inbound telephone call, and then re-establish the data call without losing the connection. This feature permits fuller utilization of a single phone line, removes the need for a second line and eliminates time lost when the user\’e2\’80\’99s modem disconnects from the Internet. Users must be subscribed to call waiting from their local telephone company to take advantage of this feature.

Quick Connect

Quick Connect shortens a modem\’e2\’80\’99s connection time by remembering the line conditions to the dial-up server. It then uses that information to connect quickly without going through the training sequence. Users will be able to re-establish a connection significantly faster than with the previous standard, reducing the waiting period to establish a connection. The increase in connection speed depends on local line conditions.

Both fall into the category of “cool” but sound like mere window dressing to me. According to ZDNet News, the new modems will begin shipping near the end of March and they estimate the street value at just over $100 USD.

Links:

ZDNet News

US Robotics

v.92 website – soon to include list of supporting ISPs.

LUMNEWS- BOOBIEVISION REMIX [Author: Mako]

…Neocron, that First-Person-Shooter MMOG thing, has released a 41MB, 7 and a half minute long movie of their game. It’s mostly flythrough, but there are a few interface shots. It seemed impressive, but then I saw it. Rather, I saw them. Boobies. Naked boobies. Attached to an erotic dancer, merilly jiggling her polygons about while the camera spun circles around her near-naked body. My sound was broken listening to the movie, but I swear a faint chorus of ‘the thong song’ started to play. Jesus wept…

…hey, it looks like Derek ‘SMARTEYMAN’ Smart might actually be making good progress with BattleCruiser Millennium. Check out a quote from the cdmag.com article:

Many developers would have given up at that point, or moved on to new projects. But not Derek Smart. Battlecruiser wasn’t just a game to the man at this point, it was a passion.

Ummmm… I suppose that’s one way of putting it…

…Stratics again. This time they’ve posted a guide for ‘Roleplaying in Everquest‘. (excuse me for a moment: HAA HA AHAH AAHAHAHAHAAHAA…) All said, the guide really isn’t that bad. Here, check out one of their baseline rules:

Unacceptable:

Dark Elf: “Move it thimble-d***, before I sic my pets on your stumpy a**!

Halfling: “Just try it, b****, I’ll see their bones halfway up your backside if you do!”

Quality advice for the ages…

…If you believe the Stratics mainpage, Middle Earth online is once again undergoing development by Sierra–this time with an entirely different dev team. On the other hand, it’s still filed under the same development status as sadf online. You decide…

…for those of you looking forward to Nexon‘s upcoming MMOGs (like Elemental Age), you may want to check out the rantings of some players that were banned. Apparently their multiple accounts and banning policies are pretty draconian. The english at that site isn’t that great (“Welcome to truth.”), but in less than a month they’ve collected a registry of over 30 banned players, with rather interesting stories listed for a few of them. Hmmmmm…

…In case you wanted to start expressing your affection for yet another game that doesn’t actually exist yet, here’s a link to the official Asheron’s Call 2 wallpaper. Whee!…

…Happy puppy has posted an article on ‘Real-Time Strategy in the New Millennium’, which has some ramifications for this next generation of MMOGs. If not outright calling themselves massively multiplayer online Real-Time Strategy games (Trade Wars: Dark Millennium), they’re at least including some RTS flavor (Fallen Age, Shadowbane). It’s a popular genre, and certainly a plentiful one to draw on for neat ideas. Thresh’s firing squad posted a similar article recently, but theirs had more to do with turn-based games…

…Project Entropia, one of the sleeper MMOGs that hasn’t been getting a whole lot of press (considering the plight of other games, maybe that’s a good thing), has announced that their beta will begin March 2nd. The early runners in the second generation of MMOGs are entering their final testing phases–this is the time when we see who can deliver on their promises. No pressure, no pressure…

…as far as the discussion of MMOGs is concerned, Galt at corpnews.com has an interesting thread started on MMOG design and issues surrounding them. The question I found most interesting: “What effect is the MMORPG world having on our “real world”? People are farming out EQ items on Ebay, many get out their aggressions in this virtual world. Is this a good thing sociologically speaking?”–discuss, children…

…people are still VERY VERY ANGRY about the recent switch of several UO servers to above.net, despite the pleas and explainations of an EA live representative. A letter I got:

I am writing to you, because maybe you have the cahones to post it…

Umm.. thanks?

…Why are they working so endlessly and tirelessly on UO3D, when they can’t even fix the game they are running now? I play on Sonoma, and I haven’t been able to play for more than 5 MINUTES SINCE FRIDAY MORNING WITHOUT LOSING CONNECTION!!!! I know this isn’t TOP priority, I mean who am I but a PAYING customer? Who am I but a concerned citizen? I can barely refresh my tower!!! OMG – forbid me from even trying to restock my vendor!!! This is rediculous! Then, they want to say – oh its not OUR problem… its att.et, bozo.net, so you call them…

Seems there’s a lot of trouble with some peoples’ connections (mine is just as laggy as ever, but that’s beside the point). When people can’t refresh their houses, they get angry. And when they get angry, PEOPLE DIE. In their defense, the UO customer service representatives are scrambling to make people happy. Sucky situation for everyone…