TIMEWARP? TO HELL WITH THAT – WE’RE SUING! [Author: Lum the Mad]

Lawsuit: We want back the castle we lost to the server error.

Jun.13.2001

by reporter I Kayon

(translated into English by Lineage Gazetteer)

Members of an online game have filed a lawsuit to reclaim virtual territory.

This recently, as incidents of online item hacking and offline item trading causing lawsuits, discussion of “cyber property rights” is expected.

Representing a group of like-minded Lineage players (a bloodpledge), An (age 31), submitted a lawsuit calling for the return of “Giran castle” to Seoul District Court on the 13th.

NCsoft has been offering the online game Lineage since 1998 (with over 1 million players), becoming one of the largest online game companies.

The “Giran castle” An demanded restoration of began operation in Lineage’s Episode 8 (Giran) last month and is the fourth such castle within the game.

The bloodpledge which takes the castle, controls the virtual territory within the game and gains tax revenues. This tax money greatly increases the ability to buy various weapons, so competition to control the castles is fierce.

As the leader of a bloodpledge, An and 100 pledge members fought with other bloodpledges at the known siege time and took Giran castle. But afterward the siege was declared invalid and the server was reset, causing the loss of the castle and then the lawsuit.

NCsoft explained, “at that time, due to a program error, the siege did not run normally, so in accordance with the user agreement, it was declared invalid and the server was reset.”

UO NEWS AND WHIRLED REPORT – SPECIAL SELF-PROMOTIONAL ISSUE [Author: Arcadian Del Sol]


Page One: Morganstern and Rosencrantz are archers

Which basically means, they are dead. Why? Because archery sucks, duh. They are not mages and they are not fighters. What they are, are “meat shields” whose sole purpose is to soak up swordplay and spellduggery while the rest of your guild goes in for the actual kill. By battle’s end, you usually have one or two victorious fighters and mages, and a herd of archer-ghosts OOoOoOoing for a ressurection. The Irony is that during the beta for Ultima Online, archery was considered THE UBER combat skill and it indeed dominated the landscape. News Flash: Archers kicked a lot of ass all over Northern and Southern Europe, too. Just ask the Moors. Archery is SUPPOSED to kick a lot of ass. Yet in Ultima Online they are about as effective as taking a dachshund to a dog race. And archers are getting tired of all the disrespect.

Several “Archer Protest Threads” have cropped up on uo.com over the past few months, and one by one, faded away. Not because people didn’t care or stopped posting, but because the ability to continue posting had been denied. So they would start a new one. I’d link you to the latest one right now, but then that would only serve to have it locked down sooner rather than later. Head on over to the boards at UO.com and take a peek.

My advice to archers? Obviously you are wasting breath if your threads are being locked and your questions go unanswered. Look at it this way: Things could be alot worse. You could be blacksmiths.

Note: At presstime, the thread I had been following was mysteriously gone, or I just cannot see it anymore(goddammed solar eclipse). If anybody finds one and posts it, I’ll add it here. For now, you’ll just have to assume I’m making all of this up.


Page Two: Orcs protest – RolePlayers need better AI

I recently was fortunate enough to interview one of the leaders of the newly organized Orc Faction in Sosaria. Some interesting tidbits were learned during my stay, and with the help of a translator, I offer a few quotes:

On class imbalance…


“Well for the longest time OSI just ignored us. It was pretty boring being continually killed by two Young players as soon as you spawn. I mean, imagine how frustrating it is to watch your “Entering Britannia…” prompt and then have about four seconds before you are killed by some kid who bought the game two hours ago. Even our mages were complaining. I mean come on, two nightshade and a spidersilk? What kind of spellcasting is THAT? Give me a F*cking break.”

On lack of support…


“Did you know that no orcs can use the in-game help system? That’s right. I mean hell, our language is practically Hindi. If anybody should be able to communicate with a Counselor, it would be us orcs. But no, we get camped by RolePKayers (thats what we call roleplayers) all hours of the day, rez killing us and taking our loot. But can we get any help from Support? PUH-LEEZ.”

On RolePlayer AI…


“When Calandryll started talking about adding new items and skills for us Orcs to use, naturally we were pretty damned happy – about f*cking time, y’know? So what happens? As soon as our new skills go “live”, we try to use them against the RolePKayers and *bam* we get dropped by two spells from a journeyman mage on an invisible horse. WE DONT EVEN HAVE TIME TO USE OUR NEW MASKS, YO! We even know where the RolePKayer spawn points are: at all the orc forts. So we go to the orc forts to wait for the RolePKayer respawn, and every single time it is the same tactics and the same “FireFootie Attack!” and *ROAR* three dragons wipe out our whole party. We complained to OSI about how idiotic and retarded the RolePKayer AI was, and they said, “Sorry I cannot be helping thee beddy beddy muchly.” So I called a GM and you know what that GM said? He said, “Go spawn somewhere else.” I mean, it’s like, the only place we can actually login and PLAY anymore is inside town – so I guess that is where we have to play now.”

And that appears to be what the orcs have done. Reports on all shards are that orcs are now “playing” in towns and have been laying waste to bank thieves who dont even steal from them, and the guards seem like they dont even care. If you ask me, the Guards AI is about as broken as the “rolePKayer” AI.


Page Three: Four years is TOO LONG to wait for a cool hat.

In the Super Deluxe Double Turbo Rowan Enhanced Ultima Online E-Mail Distribution Joy Luck Club, we were treated to a peek at the proposed 4th year Vet Rewards. They are quite the cool and include “theme sets” for home decorations such as halloween, gardener’s delight, and barkeep’s uhm….barkeeping stuffs.

However all of that pales in comparison to the following:

Magic Hat

Intended for emergencies, the user can pull out desperately needed

supplies, like a recall scroll, a small number of bandages, a few

arrows or bolts, an orange, yellow, or black potion, a few magic

reagents, an apple, or even a cute fluffy white bunny rabbit. This

stylish treasure can be used once per day.

My hat has a big-ass feather. Top that, OSI.


Page Four: I dunno – I usually have four pages but really this time I only have three, so I’ll probably post a picture of kittens just to fill space.

Wtf! My rune is bl0xx0rred!

BEING KELLY FLOCK [Author: Lum the Mad]

First off, obviously someone on the EQ2 team is pissed (and just as obviously a good deal of Smedley and McQuaid’s time is probably taken up with finding out just who the hell is leaking like that). And given that and the alluded-to personnel defections, there seems to be problems with EQ2 (and also Sovereign and the Everquest PS2 port, the other two projects being worked on at Verant/San Diego).

So is Kelly Flock, CEO of Sony Online Entertainment, a happy man? Would you want to be Kelly Flock? Well, I certainly wouldn’t mind. Verant’s long term prospects look very promising indeed – much better than, say, any of their competitors.

First off, Everquest 1 – the company’s cash cow (sorry, Firiona). The reason you haven’t seen the Verant hype machine cranking out Shadowbane-esque Everquest 2 publicity is simply that they don’t need to – Everquest 1 is doing perfectly okely-dokely, thank you. Kunark and Velious both were well recieved commercially and critically, and Luclin looks to make it a three-peat. There is plenty of life left in the Everquest franchise – enough to, well, keep Verant going all by itself. Which, not coincidentally, it is.

Second, Star Wars Galaxies. Verant could package Force Commander, add a multiplayer component, and sell 12 quadzillion copies. As it is, SWG looks to be a truly ground-breaking product, both graphically and in terms of gameplay. Combine that with the Star Wars name on the box, and Everquest 1 can shut down the next week and Verant would still meet the payroll. Anarchy Online will beat it to market by a year, but there is literally no way SWG can fail short of, well, OK, there’s no way it can fail. They could package an empty box and people would buy it. And SWG doesn’t look like it’s going to be an empty box.

Third, Planetside. While not getting a great deal of publicity, Planetside looked very solid at E3 — more solid than Tribes 2. If the performance is up to the promise, Verant has the persistant shooter category nailed. Picture World War 2 Online – only this one actually works.

Fourth, Sovereign. A troubled product, but Verant seems to be sticking with it, and at any rate no other company has announced development on a massively multiplayer RTS. Again, an entire genre locked up.

And finally, Everquest 2. As I said, Verant has furiously denied anything about the game, simply because Everquest is still making money hand over fist. And from what I’ve heard, the hand of Brad McQuaid in its design has not been a terribly benign one – the word that’s been whispered to me is that simply, he has no idea what made Everquest “click” so well, and is terrified that he can’t repeat his earlier success. Frightend managers are not the most effective ones.

Still, all Verant has to do is learn the lessons of the first Everquest and once again, the license to print money is renewed. Yes, that’s a fairly big if, judging from everything we’ve seen in Everquest’s development. Still, the decision makers at Verant have shown the ability to admit when they are wrong on occasion – take just as one example the lifting of experience penalties for hybrids – and the continued success of EQ1 gives Verant the breathing room, as with Sovereign, to take the time to make EQ2 work. Which no doubt makes for screaming during meetings where milestones are missed. But then again, how many milestones did Cornered Rat miss? I’d bet not many. It shows.

So what does Verant need to do with EQ2? Well, hiring designers from the monomaniacal EQ community would help. (Full disclosure: I myself applied for a position on EQ2, and was turned down. Goddam ranters!) There’s a ready-made reservoir of experts in what worked in Everquest, and more importantly what didn’t work. Kendrick, formerly of the Safehouse message board, is an example of such a hire that worked well for EQ1.

Opening up the design process to the community, similar to what Raph Koster is doing with Star Wars Galaxies, would if nothing else help calm frazzled nerves in management, as the strength of support for an Everquest sequel would quickly be made manifest.

But the brutal truth is that… Everquest 2 can fail. Spectacularly. And given everything else in the pipe at Verant, Kelly Flock is still a pretty happy camper.

Or the devil. Something, anyway.

YOU WANT A PATCH? YOU GOTTA PAY [Author: Arcadian Del Sol]

The Dennis-the-Menace of game development, Jeff Friedman, is at it again. As you may recall, it was his “company” that recently announced they were no longer developing an MMOG “Because of the lack of confidence game publishers have in the soon-to-be-flooded MMORPG market.” Instead, they would be developing a Real-Time-Strategy game, which I guess means that particularly crowded corner of the market has become rather roomy overnight. His fans were dissapointed, but not discouraged.

Now it seems that work on his fund-raising RTS has been put on hold so that he can devote time to programming new content to his web-based mouse-clicker, Race War Kingdoms; new content that PEOPLE ARE PAYING FOR, TO THE TUNE OF $20, $50, AND EVEN $100 DOLLARS. For the love of GOD PEOPLE, I hope they are getting T-shirts. You can take a look at the “shopping list” of updates for yourself. Who knows, maybe you too would be willing to offer $100 in order to be able to USE AN IGNORE LIST, and join the growing number of SUPER-FANS of glitchless.

I know I sure did.

GAMESPOT BELATEDLY PASSES THE WW2OL TEST [Author: Lum the Mad]

So is WWII Online realistic? Who knows–it’s simply crazy. Sometimes you’ll spawn, and it will be like the Sitzkrieg, where there’s no one around and you’ll find yourself just driving down a road hoping to find an enemy to shoot at. Other times, you’ll be part of a massive offensive so crowded that you’ll be unable to exit the spawn point until the guy in front of you figures out how to move. Once you’re moving, there’s the issue of finding the battlefield, then getting there, all the while hoping you don’t get killed or the game doesn’t crash. Several times I spent 15 minutes just getting to the front, only to have the game disconnect me before I could even fire a shot in anger. But the times when I actually got to fight, the experience was exhilarating–perhaps to some extent because the game usually didn’t let me get that far.

Somewhat a change of pace from their previous coverage, which mainly consisted of uncritically letting Playnet’s spinmeisters do their spin. They also note that WW2 Online is the third best selling game in stores this week. Pray for America. (Hopefully they found Eggman’s “How To Actually Play This Game” cheat sheets.)

MYSCHA THE SLED DOG: HEY, LET’S MAKE FUN GAMES! C’MON! REALLY! [Author: Lum the Mad]

T. Elliot “Myscha the Sled Dog” Cannon, formerly known for working on really good games, hating Crossroads of Dereth and calling me “fat kid”, posted his somewhat opinionated thoughts on why current MMOGs suck.

I’m also not to list of obvious bullshit like “the user interface needs to be intuitive.” Well NO SHIT? You mean after 10,000 years of making TOOLS we never considered that?

===

“Oh we can’t have players having every skill in the game oh no then everyone would be a god and that would unbalance things!”

Well guess what happens? Players become gods ANYWAY. They figure out how to bypass the limitations placed on them, they adjust game play styles to do things such as Kiting or feigning death as a puller, or Taming Nightmares to do you dirty work for you. (or exploit) No matter what you do, ultimately characters become as godly as the system will allow, despite the designer’s attempt to actually try and LIMIT you from becoming “too powerful”

Czech it out… long, but good read.

LUM’S OTHER HALF MEETS VERANT’S CUSTOMER SERVICE – THANKFULLY, NO DEATHS WERE REPORTED [Author: Lums Other Half]

There was actually a bonafide red name in channel a GM Slainess – never did answer my 3 open channel questions nor my 3 private tells. Finally – someone with a handle of CS_Helper_SgtSarros decided to tell me it’s a 3rd party router problem since you know there are 85,000 people on with no problem (gotta love that – I’ve been on and one of that number – but NOT without problems)- then he pats me on the head and thinks he’s sent me on my merry way.

I don’t respond well to pats on the head and told him so – precisely that I was one of those number – but not without problems, and I’ve talked to many others experiencing exactly the same thing. Then – he tells me not to send him ‘threatening’ nor ‘harrassing’ messages – I thought I was being quite civil. I then re-explained the problem and got some kind of ‘warning’ message – and was kicked. I tried to log back in, but got an error message. That’s right… I was banned from the tech support chat room for daring to ask a tech support question.

Gee – guess I have a mark on my account now – and from someone NOT even with a blue name.

I’d still like to know what’s up with the connectivity. I’d like to play – if I could.

‘WE’RE BEING NECROS =)’ [Author: Lum the Mad]

[Mon Jun 18 19:21:41 2001] Nistyre’s spell fizzles!

[Mon Jun 18 19:21:41 2001] Nistyre twitches.

[Mon Jun 18 19:21:42 2001] xxxx says out of character, ‘FIGHT!!!!’

[Mon Jun 18 19:21:43 2001] xxxx says out of character, ‘its not a melee fight guys its a caster one so just look:)’

[Mon Jun 18 19:21:43 2001] xxxx says out of character, ‘the hell are they doing?’

[Mon Jun 18 19:21:47 2001] xxxx says out of character, ‘Twitching!’

[Mon Jun 18 19:21:51 2001] Trystych says out of character, ‘we’re being necros =)’

[Mon Jun 18 19:21:53 2001] Trystych begins to cast a spell.

[Mon Jun 18 19:21:53 2001] Nistyre begins to cast a spell.

[Mon Jun 18 19:21:56 2001] Nistyre twitches.

[Mon Jun 18 19:22:00 2001] xxxx says out of character, ‘They are harvesting’

[Mon Jun 18 19:22:01 2001] xxxx says out of character, ‘/cheer’

===

[Mon Jun 18 19:29:49 2001] xxxx says out of character, ‘twitching = giving your mana to someone who can actually do something useful with it’

===

[Mon Jun 18 19:34:31 2001] Lirus shouts, ‘Attention combatants: At this time I am issuing a warning to both of you for delay of match, if you fail to enage in combat within one minute, both sides will be disqualified.’

(Check the entire log here)

/salute Trystych! /salute Nistyre!

NEWSFLASH: EA DENIES ACTUALLY BEING A BUSINESS IN COURT [Author: Lum the Mad]

Plaintiff (ex-vols): 17.\tab Defendant EA is a for profit business which has gross revenue in excess of one billion dollars per annum.

Defendant (EA): Defendants admit EA had gross revenue in excess of one $1 billion per annum in fiscal years 1999 and 2000. Defendants deny the remaining allegations in paragraph 17.

You heard it here first: EA denies, in court, being a for profit business. This explains so much.

Other high/lowlights:

Defendants admits that EA has employees.

(As of last time we checked anyway)

Plaintiff (ex-vols): 20.\tab Defendant OSI is a for profit business which has gross revenue in excess of $25 million dollars per annum.

Defendant (EA): Defendants deny the allegations in paragraph 20.

OSI is not a business. What OSI is remains to be seen. Our guess is that it is some unique kind of fish.

Plaintiff (ex-vols): 29.\tab The sale of subscriptions to UO is critical to Defendants\’e2\’80\’99 business success.

Defendant (EA): Defendants admit that customers pay a subscription fee to play UO. Defendants deny the remaining allegations in paragraph 29.

So, OSI does actually sell subscriptions to UO. But it’s not really important that they do so. There’s always that profitable t-shirt sideline!

43.\tab Within the period 1997 to the present, Counselors were enrolled in the program through a process in which OSI plays a primary role.

Defendant (EA): Defendants deny the allegations in paragraph 43.

The primary role was actually played by Wilford Brimley.

50.\tab Within the period 1997 to the present, OSI reviewed the Counselors selected by the participant or participants in the Counselor program.

Defendant (EA): Defendants deny the allegations in paragraph 50.

Counselors were actually chosen completely at random.

58.\tab These problems include problems which arise due to programming errors (bugs) in the UO product.

Defendant (EA): Defendants deny the allegations in paragraph 58.

There are, of course, no programming errors (bugs) in the UO product.

85.\tab Customers, including those serving as Counselors, could acquire various virtual items (houses, swords, etc..) while using UO.

Defendant (EA): Defendants admit that characters within UO could acquire various virtual items within UO. Defendants deny the remaining allegations in paragraph 85.

86.\tab These items have monetary value.

Defendant (EA): Defendants deny the allegations in paragraph 86.

So, according to EA, items in UO have no monetary value. This would explain why GM Darwin was fired.

I’m sure there’s much more legal jocularities contained within, so take a look for yourself.

Complaint of ex-UO Volunteers: MS Word document (53k)

Response by Electronic Arts: ZIP archive of JPG scans (2.3 mb)