HELL HATH NO FURY LIKE A DRUID SCORNED [Author: Lums Other Half]

In case that first paragraph on the front page didn’t clue you in I’m PISSED. Pissed as much at what was done – as the way it was done – I hate stealth changes.

What has me so upset? My favorite zone in the game is now totally trashed for the relaxation purposes I used to put it to.

What zone is Lum always bitching that I spend all my time in? All together now – UNREST.

What happened? Well lemme tell ya what happened.

I hadn’t played EQ in nearly 2 months because I’ve been beta testing DaoC. When the new tailoring changes came out I thought – k, I’ll log on again – at least till there is more in DaoC to test in the areas I’m interested in. Meet a young paladin in Crushbone – help him for awhile – nice guy, and then he levels and asks if there is anywhere else we might go – of course – I say Unrest – my own personal home away from home.

Get there – wolf up. Now, my druid is level 40. With wolf form I used to be able to do pretty much anything I pleased in there, after all I’m FREAKING LEVEL 40 – I earned it. One of my very most favorite things to do in Unrest was impress newbies by pulling – with a combination of wolf form being indifferent – my level – and harmony on occasion. This was incredibly relaxing and fun for me. Unrest IS fun when you aren’t dying or getting chased out every 3 minutes by a train. And note – druids were the ONLY class that could get by with this – this was the ONE FREAKING ZONE in the WHOLE world that a druid

could actually shine at BEING a druid. Sorry – I don’t consider solo quad kiting in the middle of nowhere as either fun OR social.

So what happened? They stuck factions back on mobs – wolf form is now totally and completely worthless in there unless you have never killed a mob (since the change) and just wanna sit and watch I guess. Now – once upon a time, LONG ago, Unrest did have factions – but they went away – why are they back now?

I am so sick of this – this is not the first time they’ve stealth

nerfed wolf form with various NPCs.

The one zone I could really go and shine at being a sociable druid – have FUN – and help OTHER PEOPLE have fun, totally shot to hell.

Yeah, I’m still pissed.

Unrest pathing has ALWAYS been buggy as hell. What in heavens name were they THINKING? Why don’t they just stick a big freaking CLOSED sign at the zone?

Earth to Verant – forcing me to zone every 3 minutes or dying is NOT FUN.

WHO IS THE BIG ASS NOW? [Author: Arcadian Del Sol]

Yesterday I wrote an update that seemed to shake the webserver hard enough to pop rivets. In case you didn’t get it, I was passionate about the subject matter. Happens to the worst of us. Passion is a double-edged sword. Much like fire, it can be a life-saving servant or a murderous task-master.

So yeah I cursed a little bit – that’s not what I’m talking about. I also went overboard (yeah, I did. You know it and I know it.) with my criticisms of Usul. I still think it was a shitty thing to do (relax, I wont lose it again) but in hindsight, the irony of using disrespectful language in an expose of someone else’s disrespect should not go unmentioned. When I read my first “You have Usul all wrong.” email yesterday, I dismissed it. I dismissed a second, and a third – by the time a sixth co-worker (actually, this one was a former co-worker) arrived, I got the picture. What I should have done was directed my anger at his actions, and not his character. So I’ll live and learn – a free education is wasted only on the fool. But that also, is not what I’m talking about.

Without mentioning any names (because those of you who somehow didn’t get the reference, I’m not about to make the connections for you), I offered up a single reference to someone that was entirely and completely superfluous. It had nothing to do with the update, or the players involved. It had everything to do with stupidity. My target was Origin Systems and its policies – but the victim was an individual who had done nothing to deserve the reference made, and in fact, had done everything to INVALIDATE such asinine statements. She certainly didn’t deserve being insulted, and even if she had, the levels to which I fell in order to make a wiseass crack could not possibly have been more inappropriate. I regret it, and regretfully apologize for it.

I emailed her tonight, but thought maybe I’d share part of it with you, y’know; just between you and me. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s my power hour and I’ve got to go macro up my credibility skill. It has taken quite a beating of late.

ADS

ION STORMED? [Author: Lum the Mad]

Not terribly MMO-related, but it’s a pretty big story anyway. Steve Gibson over at Shacknews reported today that Eidos was closing down the House of Romero, Ion Storm, after shoving long-awaited RPG Anachronox out the door.

Ion Storm’s publicity machine went into overdrive sort-of kinda-denying it, and even Stevie “Killcreek” Case posted to the Shacknews thread complaining that “fact checking was overrated”. Missing from all the PR was an actual clear statement that, no, a lot of people in Dallas were not going to be looking for work tomorrow. Adrenaline Vault, another general gaming news site, revised their news story on the subject several times, once posting that “John Romero confirmed that Eidos is shutting them down, but no date was set and Anachronox did not go gold yet” and finally coming up with “none of it is true, according to Ion Storm“.

About the only thing not disputed: Ion Storm Austin is unaffected by all this, and work on Deus Ex 2 and Theif 3 continues. Woo hoo!

TODAY’S OSI PERSONNEL REPORT [Author: Lum the Mad]

UO Stratics is reporting that OSI has tapped Tom “Evocare” Chilton as the replacement for the recently departed Paul Sage as Lead Designer for Ultima Online. Dwight “Melantus” Spaulding, UO’s Online Community Coordinator, was quoted by Stratics as saying,

He is extremely talented and knows a lot about gaming and design. He is a great choice.

Evocare was hired along with Pete “Adrick” Warner from the Battle Vortex web site.

Bryan “Tajima” Walker was also confirmed to continue as Producer of UO (he had previously shared the position with the recently departed Kirk “Runesabre” Black) and Rick “Stellerex” Hall continues to run the place as Senior Producer. Previously he had assisted with the Third Dawn expansion.

We’ve also recieved an unconfirmed report that David “Spin Dragon” Swofford, head of public relations for OSI, has turned in his notice and is planning on joining Sage and Black at Destination Games.

AND HERE’S LUM WITH TODAY’S FINAL THOUGHT [Author: Lum the Mad]

So I’m crusing the rubble of ad banner networks wondering morbidly if any still exist and, even better, will give me lots of money just for talking about games. (Yes, I still live in that magical fantasy dream world.) So I come across this one ad banner network only to find – wait! I’m ALREADY famous and getting paid just for talking about games!

What makes this all the more ironic is that, if you peer at the screenshot, you’ll notice that the ad for them advertising my site was taken after we already left Crossroads and ganked our ad banners off the site.

Nevertheless, since we’re now Jerry Springer, please write me if you’re a bisexual-but-curious female attorney-at-law that’s sleeping with your mother’s boyfriend – AND your sister’s!

DONT LAUGH. HE HAS A PUBLISHER. [Author: Arcadian Del Sol]

It is official. Everybody on the face of God’s Green Earth, with the single exception of Sierra On-Line, is developing an online internet multiplayer game.

Wrestling relic Rowdy Roddy “I’m not Scottish, I’m from Portland” Piper has inked a deal with Kellogg Creek Software to develop an online strategy game “…based on the world of professional wrestling.”

“There is little question that Roddy is one of the most recognizable characters in the wrestling world,” Chase commented, “and with his reputation as an innovator and master entertainer, this is a wonderful opportunity for both of us. I know as much about wrestling as he does about computers, so we should make a great tag team!”

Let me tell you something, brother. I have never heard a better recipie for disaster. One of the most recognizable characters in the wrestling world? Yeah, maybe FIFTEEN YEARS AGO. And even then, he only played a supporting role to Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant. And as for his hollywood career, “They Live!” is definitely something he needs to leave OFF OF HIS RESUME. And call me a sceptic, but I’m fairly certain, given that professional wrestling IS ENTIRELY SCRIPTED, that there is not a great deal of room for creative strategy.

Before you take the press release’s word and pre-order your copy of “Roddy’s Ring”, let me offer you a few disclaimers:

1. Roddy Piper is not Scottish

2. Kellogg Creek is not associated with the makers of Frosted Flakes, or the Daikatana level-builder with the “will work for silicon” sign.

3. Professional Wrestling has a tighter script than an Ultima Online Roleplayer Event.

4. Short, soft-bellied men from Oregon being interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund is ancient history.

5. The target demographic for this game has no idea who this guy is, and why he is any big deal.

On the plus side, there wont be any slugs.

Or kilts.

Or PKs.

Or players.

Ye Olde Linkages

The Kellogg Creek Press Release.

It is a marvel.

The Kellogg Creek website

For those of you who cant figure out how to find it from the press release.

The makers of Frosted Flakes

Join Tony’s Club

Will Work For Implants Official Website

Currently being updated by her bitch, John Romero.

Roddy Piper Website

I came here to chew bubble gum and look at the chubby has-been. And I’m all out of bubble gum.

HEY! A GIANT RAT! WHAT… A SURPRISE! [Author: Lum the Mad]

Thanks to, um, “headlikeanass” (Name filter. Gotta make one.) on our forums, we now have the first, and as far as we know last product of MicroGenesis online for your downloading pleasure.

The product? WarWizards 2, by Brad McQuaid, Steve Clover and Milo Cooper.

I think all three of these folks are at another company now, so you might have a hard time sending in your $30 shareware fee if you enjoy the game.

The game does work amazingly well for being written in the Mesozoic Era of PC games (1995); select “Sound Blaster” for your sound card and it should actually bleat sound at you. Regrettably, I was unable to get mouse support working for the game which meant that the first hordes of giant rats munched on poor Fred the Warwizard for dinner. Maybe DOS mouse drivers would work; didn’t help me much since I doubt there’s many DOS mouse drivers for the cordless MS Intellimouse.

As always, your mileage may vary. Do not blame Lum the Mad Industrial Services Ltd. if your computer blows up due to playing WarWizards 2. No, we don’t know where you can download ShowWarWizards.

File: Download WarWizards 2 for the IBM PC 486 or above (1.75 MB). Don’t whine to Brad if you have a 386. He does NOT want to hear about it.

EQ TRIES TO PATCH, TRIES AGAIN [Author: Lum the Mad]

EQ servers were down all day today patching. Rumor has it the patch was mainly to fix a dupe bug that involved players leaving corpses immediately before a server downing. Another rumor has it that Runnyeye was being revamped as a gateway to the Plane of Mischeif – and apparently a new item effect that cast a gate to PoM appeared in the post-patch spelldat.eff file.

What was fact as opposed to rumor is that Verant took down half the servers immediately after bringing them up. Whoops.

OTHER PEOPLE’S PROPRIETY [Author: Lum the Mad]

It seems the OPP guild on Pacific liked to PK people. I know, it’s probably a shock to you, but there are still PKs in UO. They’re kept on Felucca now. Please be gentle when you see them, as they may be easily frightened by bright lights and sudden movements. In case you had forgotten the raw joy and youthful verve of peekaying in UO, here’s a typical day in the life of OPP.

So anyway, OPP has basically been sitting around doing nothing bored out of our skulls. We killed some newbie guild: Ut at the X-Roads five separate times which sort of kept our attention. We saw a FL today for the first time in awhile, but he died all too easily and of course had no back up…Saw a group of about 15 SL at their tower by the yew gate…they gated to East Britain where we attacked with five Minax and saw the entire group scatter and hide *watches Mythra recall*. We were reduced to flagging gray at Bucs and pretending to be thieves, which was sort of fun…aside from the fact that everyone dives for the server line. Won me four more duels today and tied some other guy I’ve never even heard of (yah I suck). Another boring day on UO…Wake me up when there’s some enemies out. *passes out*

Apparently, however, people are actually playing UO now without being ganked at will. This bothers OPP. A lot. In their words, “there are entirely too many newbies getting away with things“. And, gosh darn it, OPP tried to do something about it. A “carebear guild”, the Keepers of Maddox, tried to organize a “dungeon crawl” in Khaldun. OSI, in an attempt to mark Khaldun more clearly as “a really dangerous place” (or, more likely, trying to load balance the servers which usually contain 30,000 people on Trammel and 5 really bored PKs in Felucca) made Khaldun only appear in Felucca.

KoM’s mistake? They posted about it in public.

To all who seek adventure, The Keepers of Maddox are hosting a siege-style dungeon quest. The date for the quest will be Saturday 26th of May. We will meet outside the east entrance to the dungeon of Khaldun at 2:00 pm pst (5:00 pm est.). From there we will break off into teams of 5 and proceed into the dungeon.

OPP’s mistake? They bragged about destroying KoM.

Oh good lord this is a must!!! Anyone with a PK or a few counts needs to show up for this event. OPP will be there with bells on, ready to show them what it’s like to do a “dungeon crawl” in Felucca. If we can’t PK in Tram, then they can’t dungeon crawl in Fel. Anyone who wants to join us is welcome to…any gray or red will be considered a friend until every last newbie is dead. So bring your thieves and PKs out and lets show them what a real dungeon crawl is like.

The result was a clear victory for oldschool peekays everywhere, as people used to the, um, much more liberal Trammel ruleset were mowed down like curs. As OPP put it,

The turn out was great, I would guess somewhere between 25-35 PKs/Thieves showed up to welcome the participants of the Dungeon Crawl. As you probably guessed by now they never even got into the dungeon to start the event. As they came in they were robbed, murderer, and generally harassed. Even after being murdered the morons trying to run this event still didn’t know what was going on. The event was a total success! I would like to thank the Keepers of Maddox for organizing this slaughter and of course everyone who was doing the slaughtering. We look forward to more events like this in the future.

The response was swift – everyone identified as a member of OPP were handed a 48 hour suspension and a mark on their account.

This morning a number of OPP members were targeted simply for being part of OPP. OSI is blatantly trying to destroy the Pacific PvP community. Could it be any clearer?

Many of those with suspensions had already had, let us say, less than clean accounts already. Whether through macroing or dying things purple or simply just being gentlemen and scholars.

Apparently someone at OPP finally found out that they were targeted for “disrupting an event”. OPP’s response:

Clearly no one can argue against the fact that PKing is part of the game and part of Fel. However, an argument regarding the disruption of an event seems to be getting quite a bit of attention. What exactly makes something an event? In general terms, it’s something that you plan in advance, right? If you check OPP News we clearly stated several times that we were planning to attack Kalidun that same day. Does this mean we have conflicting events? How exactly is that handled? Now we know…The Trammies are always right.

Did we harass the hell out of everyone that was trespassing in our world? Hell yes! Have we done this on a daily basis since day one of UO? Hell yes!

Did we kill them repeatedly for being there? Hell yes! Have we always killed people repeatedly for returning to the scene of a battle? Hell yes!

Did we loot their bodies? Hell yes! Have we always looted the corpses of our victoms? Hell yes!

Now, one of you wise guys go through all the BS OSI has posted and tell me exactly how what went on that day is/was any different than the PKing that goes on, on a daily basis? Since day one of Pacific people have planned PK events around other events. It’s how a PK operates…OSI didn’t like the system, so they gave PKs stat loss…Nope still didn’t work, so they nerfed PvP and gave the newbies Tram. Hasn’t OSI figured out by now that if they keep bending over for every gimp that cries to them that they’re just going to keep asking for more? Now everyone in Fel has to face the fact that you can be banned for holding a PK event or PKing people holding an event. Should PKs now walk up to folks and ask them first: would you like to engage in combat? Why not just remove PKing completely and stop operating in the gray area so your customers know what to expect?

OSI, when asked for comment, had none to give.

Lum, when asked for comment, had this:

No one will ever hold up OPP as poster children for the rights of people online. I quoted liberally from their web page specifically to make this point: these guys are not angels. Their web page is replete with “Fuck You OSI” messages that make you wonder why they put so much time, effort, and above all money into a game run by a company they profess to despise. It’s nothing new, and almost charmingly oldschool. I thought Trammel and the fleeing of the sheep to greener pastures had stamped out this sort of thing, frankly.

Yet the point isn’t are OPP or are they not proper roleplayers that you’d choose to invite to dinner, virtual or otherwise. The point is, were OPP playing by the rules? OSI says no. I disagree. If you set foot in Felucca, you are saying “I acknowledge that other players may try to kill me.” That is the nature of OSI’s bizarro-land PK switch. The fact that the cool stuff may be in Felucca or that it’s less crowded or that you may own a house there from long ago doesn’t make this any different. Felucca is where people go to die. It is part of the game.

Nowhere on OPP’s page does it say that they were guilty of anything worse than bad manners and poor writing skills. Were the guild in question, say, the Temple of Mondain or the Shadowclan Orcs intercepting KoM’s frolicsome dungone run, I wonder if they would have been handed 48 hour suspensions as well.

Of course they wouldn’t. ToM and SC play(ed) by the rules. OPP didn’t. The rules in this case weren’t written down. They were implied. The implied rule in this case is – if you’re going to kill someone, don’t post on your website that you did it. Don’t brag about ganking newbies. Just do it. For god’s sake, don’t be honest about your motivations. Then you can be held accountable for them, despite what the in-game rules may lead you to believe you can and cannot do. In the end, it’s all up to whether or not some nameless person at OSI sees your website and approves of how you present your actions.

Don’t agree with those rules? Maybe new ones need to be written. Clearer ones.

GAMING COMPANIES ABOUT TO FALL DOWN, GO BOOM. EXCEPT GLITCHLESS. [Author: Lum the Mad]

Interplay is in negotiations to sell. According to the UK “Computer and Video Games” site, the buyer is Pacific Century CyberWorks, a huge telecom company based in Hong Kong, chiefly known in the gaming industry for an earlier takeover attempt of Activision. Interplay’s UK officials denied the report, but a press release on Interplay’s own site admits that negotiations for a buyout is taking place.

In case that wasn’t enough good news for one day, The Standard, a news site that tracks the perils of the dot-com economy, is reporting that Eidos is issuing new shares below market value in an attempt to raise operating capital.

At the end of December, Eidos had about $11 million cash in hand and had used up roughly half of an existing $70 million overdraft. On Tuesday the company acknowledged that the situation has become so severe that it is “in the late stages of arranging an equity issue for cash at a deep discount to the share price prevailing at the close of business on 25 May 2001.”

If Angelina Jolie acting in a movie based on your flagship product doesn’t save your company you’re probably beyond help. Then again, if John Romero burned through all your operating funds you’re probably immune to help.

All is not lost, though. Glitchless is supposed to announcesomething by Friday. The Dawn beta? Race War Kingdoms 2: Jews And Arabs? More screenshots originally seen in Dragon magazine? Blueprints to a fully armed and operational battle station? You know, at this point even Eidos and Interplay want to know.