“UM, BOSS? I’M SICK TODAY.” “YEAH, WHATEVER”

So World of Warcraft launches today. Terranova is picking it as the possible first US MMO to break 1 million subs. With 41 servers at launch, it’s certainly possible! I’ve heard rumors (scurrilous, mind you) of 200k preorders and 600k expected accounts the first week.

I like World of Warcraft. It’s very polished, and the MMO industry could use a good dose of polish (evidenced by a stable client and a very well-thought-out user interface). What remains to be seen is if the WoW live team can live up to the hype. Their tasks:

1) Keep the servers up and running.
2) Keep the servers up and running.
3) Keep the servers up and running.
4) Get more raid/high level content up quickly.
5) Get a PvP structure up quickly.

If they can do that, WoW could be a long term contender. If they miss 4 and/or 5, it will be an excellent “introductory MMO”, but lacking an appealing “elder game” that keeps subscribers over the long term.

And if they miss the first three, heaven help us all. Because the entire industry will be judged by how well the network team handles their task. Don’t blow it guys, we’re ALL counting on you. Really.

THIS JUST IN: I CAN’T HAVE SEX. AND OTHER HOLIDAY OBSERVATIONS

Really! According to the Star:

I saw this at the grocery yesterday. I’m not sure which was more depressing:

(a) That I apparently, like Kirstie Alley, am TOO FAT FOR SEX! and have to stop now.

(b) That the Star saw fit to censor one finger but not the other (ok, this was more amusing than depressing)

(c) That the Salvation Army has upgraded from ringing a bell in your face as you enter the grocery store, to ringing a bell in your face and yelling “SALVATION ARMY! GIVE!” as you walk in. You know, people in urban areas often go to the grocery store EVERY SINGLE DAY, people. Getting yelled at EVERY SINGLE DAY makes one feel distinctly ungiving. Even if the Salvation Army wasn’t… oh, I better not go there. (Hint: Goodwill needs your stuff more.)

(d) That Thanksgiving has been CANCELLED. Yep. No more Thanksgiving. We’ve gone straight to the Christmas season in early November. Despite the fact that Thanksgiving is probably the only holiday I can remotely tolerate. Being thankful for stuff? Hell yeah, I’m all over that. I have metric buttloads to be thankful for. I have no problem being thankful. Making with the merry, spreading good will, buying gifts for everyone I know, frolicking amongst the holly? Uh uh. Homey don’t frolic. Or have sex. BECAUSE THE STAR SAID I WAS TOO FAT. ON CHRISTMAS.

I’m a curmudgeonly agnostic, so I despise the holiday season. My wife (WHO THE STAR SAYS I CAN NO LONGER SLEEP WITH) is a Christian who REALLY despises the holiday season as a pagan holiday invented to please the masses. See, people of different backgrounds can merge in a display of humbuggery. It’s almost enough to warm the heart. Were it not cold. Cold and black. HUMBUG.

There is one holiday tradition I fully intend to maintain, however – egg nog spiked with rum. Ho ho ho!

PREACHING THE WORD OF GOD TO WHITEFOX BURRFOOT

Sometimes you can’t make stuff up like this.

Q: How can you be a dragon and a Christian at the same time?

A: Many shifters worry that they are so strange that they can never be accepted into the Body of Christ. That’s not true and its not being fair to Christians. We Christians accept people from all walks of life. I’m proof of that.

I have been told that my shifter feelings are a lie from satan and that God has a plan for me in this human body. Well I don’t know what that plan is, and as far as I can see, that divine plan will never see fruition because I feel too much like a loser to implement it.

So I need to be a dragon, a beautiful and powerful dragon that’s fears not what men can say or do and attracts many followers. If I was a dragon, I could do so much good for this world because my self-confidence would return to me. I pray constantly to God to change me, and He tells me to wait.

If I can handle being a Christian, you can too, because I’m more f***** up than you are.

So, to encapsulate: if you’re a guy, and you feel that way about other guys, God wants nothing to do with you. If you’re a guy, and you feel that way about Starfleet officers that are kind of like an ocelot or something, well, come on in!

(Link from Boingboing. I predict SomethingAwful will shut this site down five minutes from …now.)

INSERT STEAM METAPHOR HERE

So I woke up at 4:30a, as I do sometimes, being old and cranky. However, today it had a bright spot in that I was able to play Half Life 2.

This is a good thing, since apparently no one else can. Even the retail, in a box versions of Half Life 2 require you to be connected to Steam’s servers EACH AND EVERY TIME YOU LAUNCH THE GAME. So when the Steam servers melt – from, say, everyone launching Half Life 2 wanting to play – the Steam wrapper simply burps and doesn’t let you do anything.

You can play Half Life 2 offline, by first connecting to Steam (which you can’t do right now) and then saying “disconnect me please” AND THEN YANKING YOUR INTERNET CABLE FROM YOUR PC. I’m not making any of this up. Really.

I was all in favor of Valve’s using a Steam authentication as an anti-piracy measure, and recently purchased a few Neverwinter Nights modules which also require online authentication every time you launch, or load the game. But this is a bit much. If Bioware’s auth servers go down, I can still play another NWN module. Unless Valve casts an An Corp on their server, I’m not playing Half Life 2 tonight. Even though I, you know, paid for it. And stuff. Meanwhile the people who didn’t pay for it will be playing it. And laughing at me. Oh, how will they laugh. I can see them now, in my window, laughing. While eating candy.

I want candy.

At any rate, I guess I’ll be finding the No-Steam Crack or the Dry Cleaning Crack or whatever clever name it’s called, so I can play the game I paid for. Hurrah for the Internet!

(Note: Now that I’m home, Steam seems to be back up for me. FOR NOW. Lots of other people complaining of woes, though, mostly people who’ve bought the box in a store and have no idea why they should be Steamed, particularly.)

ANDA’S GAME

Thought the tales of MMOs inhabited by third world sweatshops grinding out a few measly gold pieces a day are a bit sci-fi?

So did this guy.

> Do you know who these people are that you’re killing?

She didn’t answer, but she had an idea. She killed four more and shook out her wrists.

> They’re working for less than a dollar a day. The shirts they make are traded for gold and the gold is sold on eBay. Once their avatars have leveled up, they too are sold off on eBay. They’re mostly young girls supporting their families. They’re the lucky ones: the unlucky ones work as prostitutes.

Her wrists really ached. She slaughtered half a dozen more.

It’s a really good read, although in real life the sweatshop laborers tend to make more than the people actually playing. In the game, that is. In real life. OK, I’ll stop now.

IN RELATED NEWS, TOLKIEN ENTERPRISES SUES EVERY MMO THAT HAS AN ORC IN IT

In a “Can they really do that?” moment, Marvel is suing the City of Heroes developers and publishers for, basically, having a bad name filter.

Marvel claims the firms’ are responsible because the game is played on servers operated by the companies, raising the question of whether a company is responsible for their customers’ actions on its computer server. Marvel also claims the companies have disrupted its “existing and future” business prospects for licensing its characters in video games similar to City of Heroes.

Suing an MMO developer for the copyright violations of players on its servers is more than mildly troubling.