April 2001

THE BOUNTY OF APRIL [Author: Lietgardis]

Players can finally allow others to loot their corpses for them. If you wanted to be pissy, you could make a comment about how any decent game would have already had this, like secure trade; but like secure trade again, the AC community has already gotten used to life without it, and having it introduced at any point is all good. Make sure to use the commands properly there, though — QA apparently thinks everyone’s smart, and neglected to notice that just using the incorrect “/consent” alone, without modifiers, crashes the client to the desktop.

Monster hit locations were supposed to be added as well, since, you know, you’d think you’d be notice where you got hit, but that supposedly only works on a few select systems, including the systems those QA employees have. Most players aren’t seeing the new messages. Actually, I’ve heard no reports of anyone actually seeing them. But same as before — no one was expecting it, people were content without it, having it now is a nice, bright, shiny bonus. Or whenever it’s patched to work properly.

The other gameplay improvement worthy of comment doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it is. Players’ health bars are now displayed with their name upon selection, like monsters’. THIS IS COOL. Support characters everywhere are celebrating, since they don’t have to examine their groups or look at their fellowship screens to see if their friends are dying. It’s not broken. It’s all good.

A whole lot of people are having to play nice this month, too — behold the EXPLOIT NERFS. Portal recall to untieable portals was finally fixed for certain locations. You have to pay your entrance fee now, Aerlinthe exploiters (unless you’re one of the quest elite and can get one of those Aerlinthe recall scrolls, an accomplishment impossible for the vast majority of us. But it’s still good). Players that cheated to get more than one hilted weapon had all of them but one deleted (helping to correct a balance nightmare, to summarize the issue for those that don’t play). And a bunch of stuff was changed on with the game’s premiere quest, Aerfalle — stuff heavily debated before the patch, but still implemented. Apparently, the quest is now broken because of it. Consider that a social life boost for the elite that do nothing but repeat the quest all day.

Darktide’s exclusive godmode users would be getting a social life boost as well; only being able to jump every five seconds now, godmode doesn’t work, unless you’re using Gear, in which case I hear it still does work. Someone who actually plays Darktide can analyze the significance of that.

While there was much rejoicing over the gameplay improvements and exploit fixes, most people logged in yesterday to check out the new content. I linked to this movie before. I’ll link to it again. It was released the night of the patch, giving players something to do while the servers were down, and showed off the major new dungeon and town — the actual structure’s been in the game for a while, but it was just now opened. And there was still more rejoicing! It’s supposedly the largest structure the game engine allows, and the mpeg doesn’t actually show how big it is. It’s big. It has quests and new items and reskinned monsters and everything.

If that didn’t give people enough to do, there are new gambling casinos now as well. Buy tokens, give them to “gamesmaster” NPCs, get junk, high-value items to sell for more gambling money, and occasionally the pack dolls we saw earlier as rewards for sitting through January’s reverts. Those dolls can go to the NPC in charge of the casino, and you have the chance to get more high-value items, a key to a nice big gold chest that supposedly holds a lot of nice things, or a small shard. The nice big chest, once unlocked, can be opened by anyone. The thieves are contributing to the seedy casino atmosphere, for now; rumor has it some are being banned (TOTALLY UNCONFIRMED, DON’T ASK ME ABOUT IT), and a login message promises more control over use of the chest in the future. People like the chests, then, but the small shard business is a bigger deal; small shards are high-value items for the player economy, and this upsets said player economy quite a bit. Wait a few weeks to see what happens.

By that time, not only will the economy changes be apparent, but I’m guessing the servers will have already been brought down to change that chest. Hopefully, they’ll also fix everything that slipped by quality assurance — /consent, hit location messages, the Aerfalle quest, alchemy (did I mention that was broken? yeah, alchemists can’t use peas anymore, a major blow for convenience) — and we’ll end up with the first great patch in quite a while.


(Thanks to all 90,000 of you who emailed me this link in the past 5 minutes!) Sony Online Entertainment has just issued a press release announcing the “Shadows of Luclin” expansion pack. Here’s the feature set:

— New adventure zones, including a new starting city

— All new, highly detailed player-character models

— Massively enhanced 3D graphics engine

— An all-new player character race

— Challenging new quests, items to trade and sell, NPCs and more

What isn’t included? Well, it looks like there’s no increase to the level cap, which isn’t really surprising considering both the unbalancing effect of “lvl 75” characters in previously uberhappy areas and an apparent technical limitation that keeps skill scores below 256. (Hint to Verant: you can use two bytes now, really.)

We’ve heard a few rumors about the “new graphics engine” – something that, in a fashion similar to UO Third Dawn retools old zones with new models and effects – and, as our informant put it, “the thing they didn’t mention is that the system specs for EQ are gonna rise substancially. Remember Kunark? Heh.. this will be x10 worse.

Expect to see Luclin previewed at E3. We’ll be there with bells on for the annual Beating Of McQuaid With Elvish Pr0n Posters. Oh, and possible journalism may also be inflicted.


Snowball, the parent company of IGN and thus Vault Network, today laid off 55 more people, 1/3rd of what employees are left. They’re also staring down a possible NASDAQ delisting (stocks worth less than $1 a share are removed from the index). And, just in case the company wasn’t under enough stress, IGN Wrestling closed.

You can read more about it at IGN, at Yahoo, or you can read about why I make less money now, or you can read about why Jinx has been sobbing like a little girl for days now. As always, your choice.

Message: We’re all fucked. Except Jinx.


Whenever it was, nobody else gave two bits about it and I figured it was high time all these whipper-snappers shut their pie-holes for a while, anyway. So I was playing a bit of canasta with Grumpy-Pete when we spotted an article on Gamespot.com all about that game we used to play as young-uns, back before all this hoopla about internet and routers and dot-com crashes. Gotta admit I do like the porno. Anyhoo, give yer peeps a peek and maybe chatter a little bit if yer so inclined. If you’ll pardon, I’ve gotta go see a man about a horse, and believe me, he’s talking reeeeeeel slow these days.

Ye Olde Sundry Linkages:

Gamespot Q&A with David Adams of Realm Interactive.

TradeWars: Dark Millenium Official Site

Why only the best gul dernd actor ever to wear greasepaint!

The History of Tradewars for the whipper-snappers.

VOICES IN YOUR HEAD [Author: Lum the Mad]

Interesting thread popped up on Hackersquest the other day: someone who may or may not be claiming to be an ex-GM posted some things which may or may not be true. Depending on how you define “truth”. Or “Verant”. Or “They’ll sue for my pants if I don’t put in enough weasel words here.”

Oh hell, even if it’s all lies, they’re amusing lies. Take a gander at a sample.

EVERYTHING is tracked. I mean it, litererally everything. If you drop it, its logged, if you pick it up, its logged, if you put it in a forge, its logged. you get the picture. All trades are logged and detailed as to the items traded to whom and from whom. Your IP address is logged when you login to the game, each time you change your billing and information a record is kept. Cash is tracked, how much you have and how long you had it, a history is provided. (Cash is converted to copper, the standard and tracked that way).

EQ servers are pathetic, home brew boxes running dual pentium 3’s just recently upgraded to 800’s The code is MS C running on NT. There is one world server and then zone boxes which run multiple zones each. Forget hacking the servers, I was told there is several layers of firewall and protection, the best there is out there.

Abashi is a true A-Hole. He is now your worst enemy, as he SOMEHOW got put on the actual development team and makes decisions for EQ. Thats right , the guy that stated you can med without the book at level 32, that guy. And yes, he hates you intently, takes it as a personal battle with players. I heard about his comment when VI “fixed” the clerics hate list thing… “So clerics always complain to me they are bored, well, we will just add DEATH to their sit,med,heal, that will fix them”

Yes, the game is geared to the high level Guild players. Newbies are looked down on while uber guilds are in high regard.

The most powerful GM tool is….SNOOPING! Most of you guessed it, but yes, a GM can see what you type to anyone, entire guildchats can be snooped with an anonymous GM. Next time you pull off that scam or cheat someone, don’t be an idiot and brag to your friends…

Management cheating… Yes, they do all the time, they have the D3D at home and use it. YOu all know Lady Degarmo? “She” is a he, and a bit rough around the edges, if I may add. I have heard he playes characters on the ZEK servers and often uses the D3D to wipe out anyone he dislikes. Talk about a low life scum in my book.

Myself, I am just pissed at VI cause they are a pack of liars and you, the players really don’t know the half of it. Are you aware that everyone on the programming team now is on other projects and EQ is now being done by half-baked GM’s they promoted? Bet not…. The reason so much of EQ is hosed is because the guys working on it really are not with the program here, they are just kids with no college behind them.

Of course, since the guy’s nick is “SkrewVI” he may possibly not be the most unbiased of observers. Take a look at the entire thread here. You can also see John Smedley talking with Ashran of Hackersquest during the recent player gathering here, in what is possibly the most unflattering picture ever taken of either.


Also in patch news today, which I found out about too late to include in the previous Hit and Run, a patch for Asheron’s Call with a few bug fixes. According to darktide.org, the infamous “Godmode” jumping exploit has finally been removed as well.

A KoC member from Darktide had this comment:

I think its funny how dumb most of these lummie gimps are. no wonder they always suck at gaming and can only come here to blame everything on cheats.

Its no secret that Lum and the others that report here suck at gaming (thats not all they suck)

Bekka from DNN had this comment:

Considering that a large rant site like Lum the Mad pours rivers of ink just to remind everyone that 95% of DT players are assholes, and that saying it is NOT a stereotype but a fact, I guess that Amina should take stock and get used to this kind of mentality. It’s obvious that she is just dissimulating as a nice, intelligent, well spoken woman to hide her newbie-killing activities in Shoushi, or that Aytalya wrote 70 chapters of the novel “The Call” just as a cover-up for all the times that she ganks unbuffed people and sends them tells of “oWn3d!!! U r sux!”, or that the Brotherhood of Amn hail each other saying “hail brother in the light” as a codeword meaning “on the count of three kill the sucker shopping at the armorer”. Not to mention our evil roleplayers! The Sect of Laraeth, Bin Akbar, it’s obvious they were all in it for the phat lewt. Please don’t say anymore that there may be roleplayers, or generally non-assholes, on Darktide, or someone somewhere will start foaming at the mouth.

Lum had this comment:

Goddam kids.

HIT AND RUN [Author: Lum the Mad]

Long running rumor has Verant working on an expansion for Everquest called “Shadows of Luclin“. Most had dismissed this as a joke, since the initials EQ-SOL would have been either inapproriate or entirely too appropriate, depending on your opinion. Well, obviously Verant is working on some expansion, and given that the rumors had the expansion placed on Norrath’s moon of Luclin (thus the title) it seems from a scanned cover of next CGW that, yes, EQ will soon be SOL. We’d like to say more, but there’s only so much you can say about 4 or 5 words on a magazine that isn’t out yet.

Speaking of being SOL, EQ’s patch today nerfed muffins. Yes, yes, monks can carry more without penalty, and no-rent stuff doesn’t disappear for a half hour after linkdeath, but come on! They nerfed muffins! For more on the Great Muffin Nerf, we got a small cute puppy to comment.

HI hi hi hi hi! Can I have a MUFFIN! Why nooooooooot? Gimmeee some MUFFINS! I’ll be your frieeeeeeeend! Comeoncomeoncomeoncomeoncomeon! Give up the muffins, biyotch! Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to say that! I hang around Luuuum too much! I looooooooooove Lum! Luvluvluvluvluvluv! My nose is cold! Wheeeeeeeeeeeee! I think I’ll lie down now. Sleeeeepy.

We’d have more from the small cute puppy, but he’s taking a nap. Shh.

Moving on to other Verant games, Raph “Yoda” Koster informs us that fear leads to anger! Anger leads to bitterness! Bitterness leads to flaming on forums! Flaming on forums, never be a Jedi you!

And finishing our forum roundup and our Hit and Run, our last thread shows off the Extreme Roleplaying now happening in Chip and Dale MMORPG (formerly known as Dawn), despite the fact that the game does not technically exist. Warning: your eyes will explode around page 7. But you can’t look away. You just can’t.


Kirk “Runesabre” Black, the new Producer of Ultima Online (which makes Rick “Stellerex” Hall’s tenure the shortest since they accidentally made me the Producer for twenty minutes back in ’97) has introduced himself via a new Comments update.

Ever log in to play UO and wonder why your mined ingots from the previous early morning mining session are no longer in your bank and you are standing back to the Sweet Dreams Inn just like the night before? It\’e2\’80\’99s called a \’e2\’80\’98timewarp\’e2\’80\’99 and it has been an ugly plague that has been ever prevalent since the beginning of UO. Nastier than any undead invasion, timewarps have been a constant source of anguish and frustration. All of that is about to change, and in fact has already changed if you inhabit the AOL Legends or Atlantic shards.

A few folks have already complained that the new backup scheme eliminates a tradition that sprung up around the predictable long backup times – consequence-free “server wars”. We can expect more brutal sodomization of harmless PKs as Runesabre’s reign of terror continues. He also goes on to say that back in the day…

I know years ago I had to walk uphill both ways to Minoc to smelt one small pile of ore, losing stamina every other step against the sleet and snow, only to not succeed, timewarp, and do it all again; and that was when plate gorgets required 2000 ingots!

This was, of course, before UO:Third Dawn made walking to Minoc technically impossible for many. We’ll keep you updated on Ultima Online Held Hostage as details develop, unless we forget or get bored.

Super Special Keeno Update: In our ever present struggle to bring YOU THE VIEWER the actual facts behind the story as well as the stuff we just pull out of our butts, we feel it necessary to let you know that Rick “Stellerex” Hall is still the Executive Producer. Kirk “Runesabre” Black is the Producer of UO Live. Scott “Lum the Mad” Jennings is the Incarnation Of All Evil On The Planet and not actually involved with UO save for an account he keeps for nostalgia. Thank you and good eef-ning.


Last weekend, I was involved in a car accident. Sitting in the backseat of my friend\’e2\’80\’99s car, and thus having nothing to do with the accident other than simply being there, I figured I would have little involvement with the police. A funny thing happened, though. The police began hitting on another female friend who was in the car with us. While we laughed nervously at their advances, we also held a healthy amount of fear in our hearts. The police, whether they are justified or not, can make anyone\’e2\’80\’99s life a living hell at any moment of their choosing.

After the initial reports were written and the others involved in the accident had driven away, the police officers \’e2\’80\’9cinvited\’e2\’80\’9d us back to the station in order pick up some copies of the report and give our statements of what happened. I knew their reasons were not on the up and up. I have been involved in car accidents before. I\’e2\’80\’99ve never had to go to a police station for any reason whatsoever afterwards. Neither had my friends.

What followed was a horror show.

The two officers took us to a small room with some chairs and a restraining bench. Upon entering, one quipped \’e2\’80\’9cWe like to use that bench for all our S&M games with girls we really like.\’e2\’80\’9d The wink to my friend after the officer said that left us feeling chilled.

I am not sure why the conversation took its next turn into the bizarre, only that it did. One officer, while discussing a local peeping tom with us, began making jokes about \’e2\’80\’9cfaggots.\’e2\’80\’9d He then burst into a full-fledged performance, stuffed with prancing, lisping, limp-wristed, ass-raping humor. This performance lasted a full five minutes.

\’e2\’80\’9cIs she your girlfriend?\’e2\’80\’9d the officer asked me, referring to the friend he had been hitting on all night.

\’e2\’80\’9cNo,\’e2\’80\’9d I replied soberly. I have never wanted to leave a place so much in my life than I did right at that moment. I kept my eyes fixed on the door.

\’e2\’80\’9cDo you think he\’e2\’80\’99s cute?\’e2\’80\’9d he asked jokingly, referring to his partner.

I pulled my hat down low over my face. If it were possible to die just by willing it, I would have done so right then and there.

See, my friends and I knew something the officers did not: I really am gay. With his statements, jokes, and impersonations of \’e2\’80\’9cthose faggots,\’e2\’80\’9d the officer had no idea that he was insulting me so deeply. I know why he felt he was safe to make those generalizations in my presence.

I\’e2\’80\’99m not the stereotype.

I\’e2\’80\’99m a 21 year old gay man without a lisp. I don\’e2\’80\’99t like Barbra Streisand or Judy Garland or Liza Minelli. I just barely tolerate most Broadway shows. My clothing of choice is jeans, a t-shirt, some sneakers, and a White Sox cap. When I go to a bar, I don\’e2\’80\’99t order a white wine spritzer; I want a nice, cold beer. I don\’e2\’80\’99t watch PBS specials about ballet on Sundays. I\’e2\’80\’99d rather watch a football or baseball game. I\’e2\’80\’99m good at carpentry. I can fix my own car. I don\’e2\’80\’99t have a limp wrist, and I don\’e2\’80\’99t walk any differently than any other guy you see on the street. I\’e2\’80\’99m not promiscuous, and I do not go into bars several nights a week looking for orgiastic, gratuitous sex.

I\’e2\’80\’99m not the stereotype. I\’e2\’80\’99m so far from the stereotype that not even other gay men know I\’e2\’80\’99m gay unless I flat out tell them.

At this point, you may be wondering what any of this has to do with gaming. I will tell you.

In the latest brouhaha over the Darktide server, tempers have flared over stereotypes. Azile bemoans how he is not the exploiting, cheating, child-like stereotype and how it is unfair to lump all players into one category because of the actions of others.

This is true. It is unfair to put all people into one easy-to-use, generalized category. We know it is wrong, but we do it anyway. While we defend ourselves when someone generalizes about us based on our race, ethnicity, sexuality, profession, or gender, we forget one very important fact about stereotyping:

Stereotypes exist because there are groups of people out there who consciously or unconsciously perpetuate it.

I do have friends who are the stereotype. I understand why people think what they do of gay people, because I have seen with my own eyes people perpetuating the stereotype.

Azile needs to take in a healthy dose of reality when it comes to Darktide. The lead guild on Darktide is KoC/Blood. Anyone who is versed in his or her UO history knows of KoC\’e2\’80\’99s track record (I recommend typing \’e2\’80\’9cKoC\’e2\’80\’9d into the Lum search engine to the right). GEAR and Sixth Sense use is rampant on the server. I have seen it with my own eyes. A brief glimpse at the COD Darktide board does more than enough to justify in anyone\’e2\’80\’99s mind that Darktide is chock full of cheating, exploiting, mindless, immature l33t dewd kiddies.

While Azile might rant until the cows come home about how unfair it is to be lumped together with this stereotyped player-base, he does little to deter them or use his position at DNN in any capacity to help change the perspectives of those who look down upon the Darktide server.

In fact, exploiting programs have been advertised on Darktide.org. KoC/Blood has been lionized for its prowess in game, regardless of the tactics used to gain that position on the server. If Azile doesn\’e2\’80\’99t like to be put into the stereotype, perhaps he himself shouldn\’e2\’80\’99t sit there and perpetuate it.

He screams that Myschyf\’e2\’80\’99s article, which began the argument, is filled with propaganda. This from a man who\’e2\’80\’99s own site was once entitled Propaganda Azile? Even if the title was nothing more than an attempt at sounding clever, Azile has become nothing more than a Turbine propagandist/apologist, praising and defending Turbine and Microsoft for things he himself had ripped apart OSI for.

He admits freely in his recent rant that he himself barely plays the game anymore. He is getting his source information from the same places Myschyf did: from boards, websites, IRC, and talking with people who do spend time in the game.

I will say that I am in the game, on Darktide, several times a week for a few hours at a time. I see what is happening. I feel that Myschyf was dead on in her article. Other people feel that way as well. So, regardless of what Azile claims, there is a perception out there. There is a stereotype about Darktide players that is being perpetuated.

Instead of the \’e2\’80\’9csee no evil, hear no evil\’e2\’80\’9d approach he is taking, Azile should be doing everything in his power to break that stereotype. He certainly has a solid venue in the DNN for doing so. As Azile fiddles, Darktide burns.

He can stick his head in the sand and claim that \’e2\’80\’9c90% of the player-base isn\’e2\’80\’99t what Myschyf made it out to be,\’e2\’80\’9d or he can do something about it. I\’e2\’80\’99m in Darktide often, and I think a 90% estimate of the player-base being the stereotype is conservative. However, I know there are exceptions. So, I try not to lump everyone together. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail.

No, Azile, you may not be the stereotypical Darktide player, just like I am not the stereotypical gay man. But, I am out there working to stop the perpetuation of the stereotype. I\’e2\’80\’99m trying to educate people. I\’e2\’80\’99m out in the community trying to educate people about the dangers of sleeping around. I\’e2\’80\’99m writing articles to magazines about how gay youth don\’e2\’80\’99t need to buy into the stereotypes just because they feel they have to in order to belong.

What are you or anyone else doing except bitching and crying and moaning about the injustice of it all? Anything?

Myschyf apologized for her generalization. In fact, she apologized well before you even wrote that rant of yours. Did you mention that apology at all? Or were you too wrapped up in your own righteous indignation? Is it that you couldn\’e2\’80\’99t wait to fan the flames for your own personal rant glory?

Myschyf\’e2\’80\’99s apology was linked to right here on the page. She corrected herself.

Will you correct yourself? Will you actually do something to break the power of the stereotype? Will any of your readers? I\’e2\’80\’99ve read some of the hate mail sent to Myschyf at your insistence. I have to say, if anything, they perpetuate the stereotype even more than you do. You were the person who caused that perpetuation.

Stereotypes are ugly and unfair. I know. I have to live with them in real life. I also have a responsibility as a gay man to do something about them. I have to use my writing to dispel the power stereotypes have over people.

You, your readers, and the leaders of Darktide have a responsibility to do the same. So, instead of engaging in a flame war, try to do something about it.

Instead of perpetuating stereotypes, it is everyone\’e2\’80\’99s responsibility to break them.