I WANT TO BELIEVE [Author: lum]

I know, this site concentrating on Glitchless and Dawn is sort of overkill. I mean, come on. What’s next for LtM.net, a scathing expose of cybersex on UO emulator shards? Pointing out that Gordon Wrinn has a slight tendency to rub people the wrong way? A deep, probing chemical analysis of every burp made by an employee of Wolfpack Studios? (Oh sorry, that’s over on the Shadowbane site.) I mean, come on. This is too obvious for words. You’ve got one really, really really heartfelt coder and 5 artists. Who the hell are we to judge that they can’t crank out a product that puts the best efforts of hundreds of experienced programmers, network admins, database analysts, motion capture operators, texturing and modeling artists, world designers, and Adrick to shame? I mean, Jesus, people, don’t make me do this! I feel like I’m poking the eyes out of a small cute Dalmatian with a hot iron! Hmm, that sounds like fun, actually. Anyway.

You people are mean. Mean mean mean. (stomps foot) Because of all the coverage this site has been giving Dawn, which obviously is going to be the best goddam product Mankind has produced since nylon, some of you have been visiting Dawn’s message board, on days that their ISP hasn’t shut Glitchless down for having too much web traffic. (UPDATE: Shortly after I posted this update, their forums did in fact die the One True Death.) Some of you have not had Glitchless’ best interests at heart. Some of you thought these hard, hard working individuals should be made fun of. BAD YOU.

In response, the loyal supporters of Glitchless fought back the only way they knew how — they posted my name, address and phone number which they pulled off a WHOIS search for the lumthemad.net domain. (I wish I could say that I was shortly visited by hundreds of penitent Dawn worshippers who wished only to turn me to the light, but to this point I’ve not even gotten a single call. Pity.) And Jeff Friedman, the brave visionary behind the greatness of Glitchless, had this to say:

Say your neighbor claims he’s putting in this incredible pool in his backyard with 100 foot slides that don’t irritate your sensitive buttocks (if you don’t have sensitive buttocks then just make believe for this scenario) and he’s wondering if you and the other neighbors would like to come and test out his amazing new pool for FREE. There are two courses of action you can now take:

A) Tell your neighbor he’s full of shit, point out the fact that you’ve only seen THREE bulldozers in his backyard, start a rant website and shamelessly pass out flyers to all the neighbors asking them to visit the site so you can feel special about your ability to code HTML (language of champions) on notepad, and then harass your neighbor with 4am calls and threats “YOU’LL NEVER MAKE THAT POOL YOU FAKE!”

B) Wait till the pool is done and test it out for FREE, making sure to thank your neighbor for his generosity.

We’re busting our asses trying to make this game everything we’ve promised. If you don’t like what we’re doing or how we’re doing it then simply go away. I will not tolerate the ignorance being displayed on these boards by the rant site sheeple and webmasters (many of which come from the SAME IP address…how classy) as it is not healthy for the morale of my team.

On the Derek Smart scale of removal from reality, I give it a six. (Bonus points for him implying that our site was begun solely to give Dawn shit.)

But there really is a point here, and it’s why I decided to write this article. You see, the Dawn saga shines a light on three segments of our community, that frankly could use some analysis beyond the usual South Park Anal Cow Probes.

The people who want to mock. We got some bitter folks out there. They read sites like this, and others, solely to find out what target next to lock in the gunsights. They’re convinced that everyone who plays MMORPGs are savagely desperate people who need purging from the gene pool. Tthat they spend all day finding more and more cruel ways to mock in fact makes them more desperate than those they torment, but for some reason that fails to register. Glass houses and whatnot.

Do we fall in that category? Sometimes. I personally have tried not to vent the Holy Spleen of Rage on unworthy targets, but sometimes it is hard to know what is or isn’t worthy. And sometimes I wonder whether I have any right to judge.

The people who want to write. The MMORPG community is supporting a lot of websites. They need news. They need drama. They need meat. The networks that sponsor them jump on every game announcement with the gleam in their eyes of yet more ad banner impressions waiting to be fulfilled, so we see dawn.stratics.com and midmorningvault.ign.com and earlyafternoonshowers.xrgaming.com on an annoyingly regular basis.

You think the network managers don’t understand that many of these announced games, like Dawn, have little to no realistic chance of seeing the light of day? Of course they do. Analyzing the MMORPG market is their job – in many cases, their full time job. And they see that even if a community grows up around a game that has zero chance of success, they are still a community, and that community needs places to gather, right?

Do we fall in that category? In some ways, yes. We don’t relentlessly cover every MUD coder who suddenly had a brain fart involving DirectX and a freeware 3D engine, but like everyone else, we stare at the site wondering what the hell will be on it tomorrow. Only we actually have to, you know, figure that answer out. Occasionally the answers we came to have been the wrong ones. Most of the time I think they are the right ones, and the fact that some of you still seem fond of the place bears that out, I think. But it’s still worthy of some thought.

The people who want to believe. These are the saddest of all — almost all veterans of other MMOGs, they know that there has to be better then what they’ve already experienced, there has to be someone who knows how to capture the mad ecstasy of that tiny, tiny gleam of light that they once saw. They know this. You aren’t going to convince them otherwise.

In Everquest, they’re called VAKs. In Ultima Online, the acronym is dispensed with and they’re simply called “Origin ass kissers” (or “roleplayers”, if your tastes lean that way). In Asheron’s Call they’ve been called “bumpfuzzlers”. In Horizons – well, let’s just not go there. But in every game community, large and small, old crusty game or gleam in a mad coder’s eye, there exist the same group of folks – the true believers. Take a look at some of the responses to Jeff Friedman’s post above.

Keep it up GL, and feel damn proud of the community that has grown into a huge one in no time. It’s your effort and yours alone, so cadeau and keep up the spirit.

We believe, we hope and we cheer your way.

I for one back you all the way and thank you for an opportuinity to play and test a game like this : )

In my opinion Dawn will revolutionize the gaming industry.

I’d just like to say that for all the hard work you’re putting into dawn, Dawn will not be your greatest accomplishment. The REAL fruits of your labor will be the games that follow dawn 2 or 3 years from now.

You have just banished every doubt I may have had. You have shown you have spirit, goals, ambition. You have shown you will not back down or be discouraged. You have earned honor and my respect.

One group jumps on these folks because they are so obviously gullible, so easily mocked. Another group jumps through hoops for these folks, dogfighting furiously over the rights to make ever more intricate homes for their n-th-level-removed planning for in-game clans for nonexistent games and character creation for characters you can’t create yet and such.

But behind it all, there are quite a few people who are voting None of the Above. They want the vision of utopia, the dream of a world that transcends our own. They just want a game, a community, an alternate life that works.

Do we fall in that category? Guilty.