(*SPLAT* “Soooorreeeeeeeeeeee!”)

Anyway, today I’m thinking more of a trend almost as surrealistic – hating game companies. In particular, Origin and Verant. (Turbine being excepted from this, since they can do no wrong and Asheron’s Call is perfect and if you don’t play on Darktide you’re not playing AC and if you’re not playing an extreme Og Mage spec’d in Unarmed you just plain have no clue what you are talking about. But, you know, given all that. All three of you.) Quite a few of you think they’re the Enemy. FIGHT! GIVE NO QUARTER! RESIST! STRIKE BACK! How DARE sites like this one actually treat them like normal people! They are scum! They spend all their time… writing GAMES! Obviously this means they are void of all feeling and rational thought. KILL THEM!

Terrorist of UO Prostitute agrees. And damn it, he spent 45 minutes reading federal statutes FIGHTING FOR THE RIGHTS OF WORKING EXPLOITER FAMILIES, OK? No, I’m not making this up. Dear God in heaven and all that is holy, I’m not making this up.

After hearing a rumor that OSI “must tell you PRECISELY why you are banned,” I decided to check the Business section of FedLaw. Big mistake.

The Business section alone must have contained more laws than there are words in the dictionary. After spending about 45 minutes looking through 98 ‘Chapters’ of USC (whatever the hell that stands for) #15 out of gawd knows how many, I finally came upon something that looked rather promising. The “Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act” just might be what some people needed. What I first thought of were the rumors that OSI used a scanning program when patching Ultima Online to the OSI servers that scanned people’s computers for programs like UOE, then gave them suspensions if they had them running. That could be totally illegal.

Then I read that their definition of a ‘child’ in this particular chapter meant anyone 13 years or younger. This, of course, screws anyone between the ages of 13 and 18, which sums up about 80% of people who play UO.

At this time I quit because I was starting to get a headache. Maybe I’ll have more luck next time.

Take for example some of the reaction we saw when I posted the story about my trip to San Diego to visit Verant. Dear God in heaven, I actually made Verant look HUMAN. Jesus, this is some sort of EVIL PLOT. Obviously Lum went there to get his paycheck (What’s the going rate on journalistic credibility, anyway? I’d really like to get my second mortgage paid off) from his Dark and Secret Masters and making people like Gordon Wrinn and Brad McQuaid look like NORMAL EVERYDAY PEOPLE WHO MAKE GAMES FOR A LIVING is an incredible disservice to the public.

Unfortunately, as a result of my not mindlessly saying “OSI sux0rz! Verant sUx0Rz! Turbine… Darktide is k0oL!” over and over, I personally get as much love from this crowd as some game developers. Perhaps some folks are confused and think I actually am on the UO dev team. It’s an easy mistake to make, what with GBob posting the wit and wisdom of Chairman Ubiq on a regular basis and Designer Adrick informing you that blue peekays are bad, mmmmkay? Take for example K’Thak The Greeby, who’s moved on from posting bugs on UO Prostitute to being the Real Rant Shady on his own site. Here’s an excerpt:

Thats Lum The Mad. I want to know how the hell he

reaches the keyboard over his large stomach. I know a lot of us UO players have no room to talk but that guy is huge! And, just between you, me, and Surly Bob, I think hes a sellout. I mean, look how he changed his site name. Sounds too professional for someone eating cheescake all day. Ever since his ego got bigger than his gut he thinks hes god of UO. Personally, I hate the fat fuck. he calls me “greeby” and everyone agrees, I look up the word and it doesnt even exist! God Damn!

You know, there is so much blood spurting through my eyeballs right now that they’re in danger of overdosing on hemoglobin. (Just to save you the trouble of cracking open the dictionary again, K’Thak, “greeby” is not a real word. “hemoglobin” is, however.) Of course, you know, most of these guys are such gods of sexual chocolate, I really should just shut up and cower in a corner, hoping no one ever notices my frightful appearance. Because, you know, that would be greeby. Speaking of frightful greebiness, the aformentioned Terrorist of UO Prostitute also chimed in before his head exploded from trying to read legal codes on how I was OSI, or OSI was as bad as I, or something.

You don’t criticize someone for making a stupid decision then turn around and congratulate them for making a good one, and you certainly don’t praise OSI for banning some grief player then bash them for doing the same thing to an innocent person. Lum believes he can stay neutral in the great war between OSI and it’s customers by flaming both of them, thus keeping the trust of his buddies over at OSI and the loyalty of his fans. UO either governs its players in a fair and equal manner, or it DOESN’T. Can’t be both. It’s time for this guy to pick a side of the fence or shut the hell up.

Let me say that again – according to Terrorist, “you don’t criticize someone for making a stupid decision then turn around and congratulate them for making a good one“. I’ll just take a wild leap of logic here and assume he’s talking about gaming companies. You know, fuck congratulating them for doing something right. They are wrong evil bad people. They can’t do anything right. It’s physically impossible. And since I don’t get it, and insist on, you know, occasionally saying “woah! good one!” when a gaming company actually, you know, manages not to screw up, I should just “shut the hell up” instead of “staying neutral in the great war between OSI and it’s customers”. (“CALANDRYLL! CUSTOMER SPOTTED AT ZERO SEVEN ZERO ZERO!” “STEEL ON TARGET, TYRANT! CLEAR… GOT HIM! ANOTHER CUSTOMER *DESTROYED!*” “Muahaha! At this rate my fiendish plot will succeed and WE WILL MAKE NO MONEY! Woo woo!”)

What really makes blood spurt through my eyeballs uncontrollably, though, is the lengths to which the most rabid, venomous Origin/Verant haters, after actually being banned from UO or EQ for hacking or duping or posting nastygrams on their official boards or what-have-you, manage to somehow get other accounts and keep playing. And then brag about it. “I am so cool, I’m still playing this suckass game even though I’ve been banned! Hell, I have five accounts! Worship me!”

In other words, they’ve conspired to keep paying Origin/Verant money. Even after Verant/Origin asked them politely, “No, really. Stop giving us money. We don’t want it. Go ‘way.”

I mean, think this through, people. You can’t stop telling people how much you hate a game company in question, you have nothing but disdain and disgust for them… so you plot ways in which you can give them money against their will! YEAH! That’ll show ’em! FIGHT THE POWER!

Jesus. People cannot be this stupid. I mean, they can’t. I’m pretty sure it’s against the law. One of those “USC” things that so vexed Mr. Terrrorist. Let me draw a metaphor here (note to K’thak – put the dictionary down – it’s a real word) and in fact, one close to my heart since I do nothing but “eat cheescake” all day.

In the small suburb where I live, there are three grocery stores. One is a Wal-Mart sooooopercenter which has low prices, the most selection, huge crowds, and gets bonus points for my being able to buy special Wal-Mart Sanitized versions of my favorite PC games while buying my “cheescake”. But it’s far away on the other side of town. Then, closer to my house, is a Kroger that has pretty high prices, insists that you give them all your special demographic information so that you can get a “discount card”, and is somewhat near the center of town. Then there’s a discount chain that’s close to my house, but just sucks a raw root. It’s filthy, the service is crappy, and the food they sell is usually spoiled or ruined in some fashion.

Now. In real life, you know, that thing we all presumably exist in, I just don’t go to that store. Sure, it’s closer, and has fewer crowds and somewhat low prices. But it sucks. I hate it. So I don’t give it my money. It’s a pretty simple equation. Really. I didn’t spend months agonizing about it, didn’t make web pages at “http://thisgrocerystoresucks.geocities.com/”, and I didn’t run around the store shoplifting “cheescake” and peekaying other customers. I just quit giving them money. END OF PROBLEM.

So what’s the difference here? Why don’t all these disaffected people “at war with OSI” or “raging against Verant” just stop giving them money? As one poster on UO Prostitute put it,

OSI is a bunch of MOFO’s who cant do their job right. I swear if OSI is to come up with some kind of game it better be worthwhile. Ive been wasting $10 a month for the last +1 year and im sick of it. THats $120 that could go towards some better game that is not called Ultima Online.

You know, maybe it’s just me, but after a year, I’d be pretty sure I wasn’t wasting my money. I mean, casual players have an excuse. Like Old Man Murray posted once, when Origin bragged about breaking the 100,000 mark in customers some time ago, 80,000 people looked at their credit card statement and said “damn, I thought I cancelled that.” But this same guy has as his sig, “If you are a newbie, you suck. If you kill me, you suck. If i scam you, you really suck!” So either he himself is a newbie and sucks (not an assumption I’d ever make, mind you), or he’s managed to claw his way to the pinnacle of achievement in a game that, in his own words, he’s been wasting money on and is sick of.

The answer is pretty obvious, and one that most of these guys will never, ever admit.

It’s not just a game, folks.

And even little xpl0it kiddies need love. They need friends, community, all the other reasons you spend time in these time sinks. And when thrown out of that community by the caretakers thereof – the very folks they spend all that energy despising, the game companies themselves – they immediately plot on how they can get back in.

But of course, if they think too hard about how what they are ranting and raving about is a community and not a game, they might actually be forced to, you know, wonder about what effect their actions have on it.

And for some folks, introspection is HARD. Much easier to mutter “it’s just a fuckin game get over it” after you screw someone over, donchaknow. No need to question your own values that way.

And when all else fails, BLAME ORIGIN. HATE VERANT. The only person who’ll disagree with you is Lum, and he’s just greeby.