July 2001

THE FRESHMAKER [Author: Arcadian Del Sol]

Just in:

Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2001, 2:24 PM EDT

The Chesapeake shard, which has been a week behind the other shards in the event scenario, was updated with the current week of the event scenario publish this morning, which has reverted it from its state of Publish 12 back to Publish 11 along with the other shards.

We sincerely regret this necessity, but the Chesapeake shard is being reverted at this time to a backup from approximately 12:00 am this morning (CDT) to ensure that the correct publish is active (Publish 12). To prevent any players on Chesapeake from losing their homes due to having refreshed them after the 12:00 am backup, we will be automatically refreshing all homes on the Chesapeake shard when it is brought back up. We appreciate your understanding, and apologize for any inconvenience.

If you collected all the former UO Players who lost homes and ultimately cancelled accounts because they lost everything to a handful of shard reversals, you could fill a stadium. This policy is, well, refreshing. Thanks, OSI. You saved me from having to fake an illness and going home immediately to refresh my houses. I’ll return your kindness by continuing to pay my $9.95 a month.

THE STATE OF MMOGs TODAY [Author: myschyf]

The Tick has, unwittingly, unwillingly, and unknowingly, contributed the best summation on the state of massive multiplayer online games today. So, without further ado, we give you the 60-second story of MMOGs today:

EQ: More content coming, customer service appears to be getting a clue, film at 11.

UO: More content added, more content coming which is probably the content they cancelled previously from UO2

AC: Trying like hell to combat GEAR use, DT server populated by Killjoys on Crack (or something like that).

AO: Broke, but getting closer to fixed every day. Gonna have to charge you for that lag-o-meter now, son.

WW2O: Racist griefers don’t really exist, and if they did we’ve banned them already. Assuming they could play. And whatnot.

DAoC: Hired Lum, dammit. Hired Tweety. Better not suck, say fanbois.

Shadowbane: Boobs. Again.

Jumpgate: It’s really really good. GBob rules. Did we say it was really, really good?

Star Wars Galaxies: Probably going to rock the rest into oblivion. If it works. In a year.

The End.

LOOKING FOR A FEW GOOD WRITERS [Author: myschyf]

This page has three sections:

Guidelines for everyone to follow

Guidelines for those writers wishing to join LumStaff

Guidelines for guest rant submissions

At some point next week we will hopefully have this into an HTML page with links and stuff. Until then please bear with us.

Guidelines for Everyone

Arguing with me or having been in a flamefest with me (or any of the other writers) in the past does not necessarily disqualify you. Eldin flamed me on a regular basis in the past and I’m the one who hired him. Arc and GBob didn’t agree with Hedron at all (and still don’t most of the time) but no one is suggesting that he not write for the site. He brings a valuable perspective and one that the rest of us are unable to provide.

With that said, don’t try to copy Lum’s style. Or my style. Or Arc’s style. Or anyone’s style. We value diversity. Create your own style.

Grammar is good. Spelling is good. Well-written pieces are good. As a matter of fact, those things are just as important as the actual content. Keep that in mind. We are not editors. We will not fix your spelling, your grammar or improve on what you say with a couple of exceptions. We MIGHT, if we like the article enough, send it back to you and say we liked it except for this one part and suggest something alternative. If we like an article and it has a few errors we might correct them while we are posting it. HOWEVER, if its chock full of errors, grammatical and otherwise, it will not be posted or probably even read.

Until we get a link working send submissions to both myschyf@lumthemad.net and arcadian@lumthemad.net. Submissions not sent to the both of us will be summarily discarded so those of you that think that because you don’t like me you don’t have to deal with me, get over it. Submissions will be forwarded to the Lumstaff mailstring and everyone on Lumstaff will get a vote on what to do with it.

Submissions should be EMAILED. DO NOT USE OUR OUR FORUM PRIVATE MESSAGE FUNCTION TO SUBMIT ARTICLES. NOT EVER. NOT EVEN TO SEE IF ITS OK TO DO IT. Email submissions. Do not fax them. FTP is not ok. A link to an HTML page is not ok (except if applying for a writing position on staff and then only in addition to emailed submissions — see that section below).

All submissions become the joint property of the site and the author(s). By submitting something to us you agree to allow us to publish it. If you can’t handle that don’t submit.

All positions on LumStaff are unpaid. If you are invited to join us as a result of our being impressed with your writing you will not be paid unless some millionaire drops a large bundle of money on the site so we can pay people.

There are no word count or page limitations. There are no format requirements but I suggest Word or Notepad because if you create your submission in a program we don’t have we won’t be able to read it. We really don’t give a shit what you think of Word and/or Notepad. Submit it in a format we can read it in or it will be deleted. We are not willing to install new software just to read your submission.

DO NOT MAKE UP NEWS UNLESS IT IS SATIRE. I cannot stress how important this is. If the company didn’t say it and you can’t point to a link where you got the information then its not news and as far as we are concerned you made it up. Making up news and not being able to back it up is a sure way to have us disregard anything you write in the future.

Racist, homophobic and other hate-filled spewing is not appreciated and will be deleted. Submissions of this type is probably a good way to get on our spam lists.

Guidelines for writers wishing to join LumStaff

State you are applying for a job in your cover letter and which game you want to cover. Your cover letter should include some links to other sites you write for or at least some boards you rant regularly on.

Submit two full-length articles on the game you wish to cover. This could be pieces you wrote in the past, pieces you had published on the web or elsewhere, or pieces you wrote for the purposes of this submission.

While there are no word count or page count rules, we post here some friendly advice. Two paragraphs of 12 point type do not a full-length rant make and if you want a job here it ought to be longer than that. However, we the members of LumStaff are busy people, else we would not be advertising for writers. This means we don’t have time to read the next great American novel. Use some common sense when submitting.

Guidelines for Guest Rant Submissions

Very few things are written in stone. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Content should be MMOG related but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Arc has posted about his hat, his father, and Cal Ripkin. I posted about a July Fourth that was especially meaningful. However we already work here so if your content is not MMOG related it better be especially moving or something. Writing about non-MMOG games is fine and those types of articles have as good a chance as MMOG-related pieces for being published. I will not answer any questions about what you should write. If you want to write about something then do so. The worst thing that could happen is that we won’t publish it. I promise that we will not write and ridicule you for your submissions.

Know that because people think similarily about MMOGs, you may submit something and it might be rejected, and then an idea might appear in an article here. This is not to say that we would take your ideas (if you don’t think we are more ethical than that you have no business submitting something to us in the first place) but to warn you that similar ideas occur to different people at the same time. If you can’t handle that don’t submit.

All submissions are donations to the site. We do not pay for submissions. You will not receive monetary (or any other type of) compensation in any way, shape or form. Virtual compensation, in the form of ego, pride, vanity or something like that, is your own deal and we expect you to take care of it accordingly.

Submitting does not guarantee you a reply. If we do not reply or don’t post your submission, that’s probably a good indication that we didn’t like what we saw. Sorry. We aren’t going to like every piece that is submitted to us. If you can’t handle that we suggest you start your own website and post your stuff there accordingly.

We make no guarantees that we will publish what you submit. Submitting articles does not guarantee you an invitation to join the staff.

Please remember that we are swimming in uncharted waters here. We are likely to make rules up and set things in stone as they need to be. Also remember that no one on LumStaff likes to make or follow rules or set things in stone. If you make us need to do such things we might get annoyed. Us being annoyed makes us less likely to like your submission. In other words… use some common sense people.

EQ PLAYERS – WHEN YOU READ THE SZ RULE SET… [Author: Hedron]

Well, if you’re me, you thought… “Oh man. These rules are NOT going to last. Verant will definitely cave in to the suffering of the masses – because suffering there WILL BE!.” (clap of thunder of something)

Guess what? As Casters Realm thoroughly documents, The rules have not lasted.

Essentially, this was inevitable. As soon as you thought of the level 5 bard scenario, you just KNEW they’d have to fix it. It’s TOO disruptive. But the changes aren’t done yet. I predict that as the server matures and the implications of the no-level-limits on PVP and the lack of rules are actualized, we’ll begin to see a few more intense issues drive Verant into mellowing the server rules. Not that I necessarily support that mellowing. I\’e2\’80\’99m just predicting it.

1) We’ll see some restriction on corpse camping, or a reduction of lost XP in death. Most likely some reprieve that gives people enough time to get their corpse and split.

2) We’ll see some mitigation of the any-level attacks any-level situation due to massive slaughters in zones that support people levels 20 to 35 by 50ish characters. This will cause a virtual stoppage of being bale to level by those level ranges once a hefty number of players start hitting 45 to 50. How they’ll address this, I have no idea.

3) As the higher level dungeons start to get hit,rogues and monks will cause MASSIVE trains on the enemy such that it’s basically impossible to level. Dungeon zones AFTER a large number of people have hit the higher levels will be a complete mess.

In general, I think they’ve underestimated the impact of their current rule set. They will find that the players will not only figure out how to create major disruptions of the leveling treadmill that Verant cherishes, but that they already know how to do it and are merely waiting to have the levels to get it done. The level 5 bard thing was just the easiest one to reach.

Verant is already realizing that a level 30 can team up with a level 50 and lay waste to vast numbers of 30ish character through buffs and by having the level 50 do almost all the damage except the kill shot. What was their response?

“And, in this special case of experience loss being caused outside the + or – 5 level limit, a deity insignia would NOT be generated. The insignia’s will remain only for those kills within a + or – 5 level limit.”

Well, maybe I’m reading this wrong? But here’s what it looks like to me. “Hey, they can’t take your stuff when you die – you’ll only lose coin and experience. And oh, yah, we won’t give them that token thing.” So I have a few issues with that concept.

First, their kill stats web pages will start to become meaningless as people use the above exploit to slaughter buckets of the opposition. The highest ranked players on the server will be those who multi two accounts and abuse the system.

Second, are they SERIOUSLY missing the point that experience loss at death is devastating? It’s almost like they’re assuming that high level players won’t do this kind of exploit without loot to be had. Hello? People will get corpse-camped and BRUTALIZED with this crap. How long does any given player spend in a particular zone leveling before they need to move on to richer grounds? A week if they’re hard-core leveling? Two teams working this high/low combo in one particular zone for a week could be solely responsible for THOUSANDS of lost man-hours of gaming and for a whole “generation” of players at that level quitting.

Maybe they thought that experience loss from one death equivalent to an hour or two of gaming was less harsh than losing an item that might have taken you a week to get as happens on RZ. Well, they’re SORT OF right… except for

a) The lack of level restrictions,

b) The ability to corpse camp,

c) The legality of training, etc. etc.

d) On RZ you can choose to wear no-drop equipment

e) On RZ you can bag your items when death is imminent

f) On RZ you are GENERALLY forced to be somewhat civil because those you kill may be people you need on a plains raid tomorrow.

People will be dying soon in massive slaughters. And in the case of guild wars, experience loss through twink strategies will be THE way to not only win, but to drive the other guild out of the game entirely.

As usual, the whole setup creates a winner’s advantage that compounds. If you don’t have a job, and you can out-level the bulk of the population by 10 or 20 levels, you can make life hell for your opponents and stay ahead of them forever. The only mitigating factor in this scenario is the team setup. Some relief from this self-feeding cycle is found in that at least if you’re in a zone that’s controlled by your own team you can make progress without risk, but on this server where near-invulnerable players can stop by lower-level zones and squash them without much fear of reprisal that protection is not real.

And the idea of high-level players coming to the rescue of their low-level brothers is ridiculous and unworkable. EVEN IF you could assume that anyone would bother (which you can’t), how exactly do you contain a level 50 wizards in full resist gear, with yonder and a whole series of AOE spells memed. They portal in, kill buckets of people with each cast, yonder/evac to get out if faced with opposition, and then wash-rinse-repeat. It’s fun to the attackers to rack those kills up, it’s boring for the defender to chase an uncatchable opponent around trying to stop the destruction.

I’ll say these positive things. I think this server may prove to be very interesting at the leading edge of the leveling distribution, and will be interesting at levels 50 to 60 where the level disparity can’t be any greater than 10 anyway. And I applaud Verant for realizing that the only way they can ever try to improve their PVP game is by creating a server like this where the rules are open to a kind of beta-test change approach. I also think that opening up the server to full level range PVP is actually pretty cool. It’s the death penalty that presents interesting challenges in game design. But I guarantee you this – there is a lot of learning curve and rules revision ahead.

My off the cuff advice (disclaimer: I have not even attempted to think this one all the way through – I’ll let you all do that. heh heh.) – add 200% to ALL the zone modifiers. Push the whole server to the post-max game as early as possible. See what happens with a whole server of level 60’s running around who got there so fast that they didn’t have time to get all the items they want. We now have a semi-level playing field with reduced death penalties (because experience is easy to re-acquire) and great incentives for conflict over zones for item acquisition. And in the lower levels, maybe pick ONE geographically contested zone in each level range and crank the modifiers up by 500%. That way it becomes a huge honey pot for each team to try and control those zones for the leveling benefits. At the same time, the benefits of leveling in those zones mitigates the losses of experience in PVP because it’s so easy to gain it back. Hmmmm.

Hedron

The False Prophet

Gratuitous RP Signature

A-HUNTING WE WILL GO [Author: myschyf]

Well she got her friend Gwenn and the three of us decided to visit the Cove orc fort. That’s where we saw this:

Evocare practicing the new precasting combat rules. He died.

So then we saw the new mounts that the Savages are riding. Apparently you can tame them and ride them.

The new ridgebacks. They look like ostards in the 2d client. Pic courtesy of Heather.

Then some idiot decided to start being a noto peekay (in Felucca where no one is ever an idiot and no one ever noto peekays — but I digress). The Cove Orc Fort was just either killing orcs or killing savages — not a big deal and not something that we haven’t been doing for a while now in the towns. One note — with this scenario, the towns seemed to empty out of orcs. At least there were none in Cove. I didn’t check out Minoc, Skara and the like. We had hoped to see a Savage Mage which we had heard were coming but we couldn’t find one. So not wanting to stick around in bad company and having heard there was a new dungeon we decided to go see if we could find it. We did.

Our intrepid party of adventurers outside the entrance to the new dungeon. Pic courtesy of Heather.

Inside the new dungeon

I went swimming.

The orc equivalent of Arnold Schwarznegger. Dias took his orc mask off and it killed him.

I had to go so the party broke up. If you go to the new dungeon, wear an orc mask and don’t kill anything or take lots of people. The brute is.. well he’s a brute. Be careful.

Also if you haven’t seen the rest of the new orcs, Heather has pics of them.

ANGRY SPACE KITTENS AND THE ORIGINAL G(Bob) [Author: myschyf]

Longtime readers of Lum The Mad know him from his days as an updater on that site, and being one of the first to \’e2\’80\’9cturn to the Dark Side\’e2\’80\’9d of game development. Since then he has been involved in UO2, (Not the UO 2.0 that was recently announced.) and more importantly JumpGate. Jumpgate, while reminiscent of the Wing Commander series and games like Decent: Freespace, takes the concept in a new direction: flying against 80 other living opponents who want to kill you before you kill them. You can be a trader or a miner as well, but this game delivers player versus player with a vengance.

I managed to corner Gbob in #lummies and extort an interview from him. I didn\’e2\’80\’99t even have to use the feared onion bagel of doom.

**********************

When did you come in on the project?

Well, after the cancellation of Ultima: Origin I was trying hard to decide what I wanted to do in this industry. One of my big concerns was finding a project that could excite me as much as Ultima did. The idea of working on another sword and sorcery game just didn’t hold that much appeal. That’s when I remembered a game I had signed up for a year earlier called JumpGate.

When I saw they were located in Colorado, my mind was made up. I absolutely HAD to get a job with them. I sent in my resume, we had a few discussions and I was brought on board. I spent the first month or so packing up my things in Austin and getting to know the game from the inside out.

I couldn’t be happier. I absolutely love this game.

What inspired this as a MMOG?

I think everyone who has ever played Elite or Wing Commander thought at one time “wouldn’t it be cool if I was actually flying against other pilots?”.

Before, it just wasn’t technologically possible to do it. There is, without a doubt, a need for this game. The other night I experienced the best damn justification for JumpGate you could imagine. We were fighting in the simulator. There were between 80-150 pilots all mixing it up. All around me was combat. Missiles were flying left and right. Ships exploding around me. I started taking hits on my port side.

I cut my thruster, whipped around and tore open the SOB trying to down me. His ship was ripped to shreds right as a missile hit me from behind. It was an incredible experience.

The biggest problem space sims have always had is the difficulty in

generating that emotional rush when you beat a computer controlled opponent. Take the aces in Wing Commander. Sure, shooting down Hobbes in WC3 was a good feeling, but it just doesn’t compare to what you feel when you shoot down another living breathing human. Of course, there’s a cost to moving the space sim[ulator] into the online realm. For one thing, there isn’t the cut and dried “good” and “evil” that you have in a single player game with a narrative. Your good feeling of victory comes at a cost of some other person having an experience that wasn’t as rewarding. That’s one of the reasons I just can’t bring myself to attack a lower level player, or someone who is not expecting an attack. Basically, I make a lousy pirate because of this.

Who is your target Audience?

I think there are a couple of different kinds of gamers we’re shooting for.

The first, of course, is the player who is experienced with playing online games. The kind of player who has felt trapped into deciding if they want to play a game with swords, a game with swords, or a game with swords. I just think there’s much more out there the industry can be doing. It’s one of the reasons I’m excited about the upcoming diversification of the market.

Anyways, the next big audience for us is the die-hard space sim fan — the kind of player who spent long nights trying to figure out how to dock in Elite — the kind of player who jumped for joy when they dropped the Tremblor bomb on Killrah in WC3 — the kind of player who almost fell out of their seats the first time they saw a cap ship launch an energy weapon in Freespace. I think we have something to offer to those players. This is the first time they can play a space sim in a persistent online universe. Finally, I think we also have something to offer to the hardcore online war gamer. Warbirds is a pretty big influence around here.

Ultimately though, the team made the kind of game that they wanted to play themselves. JumpGate started as a labor of love for this group. There was never a marketing meeting where they ran ideas in front of a focus group. It was a bunch of hardcore gamers sitting down and saying “this is what we want to play. If this game isn’t out there, we’ll make it for ourselves”. And they did.

I have heard that there will be PVP (Player Versus Player) involved, do you expect that to affect the number of new sign ups?

We’re a PvP game. If you absolutely feel that there should not be combat between players, stop reading. In this regard, we’re much closer to Warbirds or WW2 Online than an RPG such as UO or EQ. Space sims have always been about battles between pilots… it would be pointless, in our eyes, not to have PvP in the game.

I can understand the point of both sides of the PK debate. I know I’m not going to change anyone’s mind on the issue. I will say this. Different styles of games should approach the issue of PvP combat in their own ways.

The level of acceptable violence in Hockey, for example, is far different from that of Baseball. I don’t think that the level of PvP in JumpGate would work in a RPG game, but for a space combat sim? It’s just about right.

In the beta, the main focus right now is getting the technology to work well, what is the philosophy of the designers in respect to playability. Is this game catering to the broadband crowd or will my new 56k modem be sufficient?

First, I just want to say that the game plays very well with a 56K modem.

Obviously, we want people to have fun testing the game, but the most important factor for us is the actual testing\’e2\’80\’a6 The game hasn’t begun yet, and anyone testing shouldn’t have the expectation of being amused and entertained.

I think right now the game is a great deal of fun, and I can tell you that it’ll be even more fun once we launch. One of the main thrusts of our game is this narrative story. Players haven’t even begun to experience that aspect of the game…let alone the political aspects.

What kind of game play will be encouraged? I have seen a lot of leanings toward traders and also combat type missions, with little intermediate ground. Will this change?

The game is a great deal more than just trading and combat. One of the things I’m working very hard on is making sure that there will be meaningful player driven fiction in the game. If you played UO, you may recall when they did the “Followers of Armageddon” story line. For many players this was the most fun they had in the game. Well, I defiantly took some notes from that. Players deserve a context to play in, a universe they can have a meaningful impact on, and a reason for logging on besides just gaining another level.

From the game mechanic side, exploration is a major aspect of game play. We won’t be adding anything new to the game unless the players discover it and help build it themselves. Let me give you an example. Let’s say we decided to put in something like “angry space kittens” that the players can strap to their ships. We’re not just going to patch it in. In the “space kitten” scenario, a player may have to first discover some floating space kitten in some deserted sector. Other players will need to build a kitten kennel to raise the space kittens. That kennel will need to be supplied. While all this is going on, the GMs may be running an event to disrupt the building of space kittens. Will the players be able to build them? It’s up to them. After a certain amount of time we may call the scenario off and the kittens never get introduced. It’s some risky stuff. Part of me wonders if we can pull it off. I think so.

Is there a plan for Launch Day? Have you planned for what if’s?What do you think of the launches and customer service of Anarchy Online and World War II Online? What will NetDevil do if it faces that kind of situation?

Well, I’m not going to get into any specifics of what someone else should or should not have done. Obviously, nobody wants a bad launch. There’s a certain inevitability that launches will be a painful experience. Think about it. On launch day you your servers subjected to stresses that they would NEVER encounter in the course of normal game play. You also have no way to test to see if the servers will work or not. Let me give you an example from JumpGate. We were running a stress test by holding a player event in one sector of space. Everything was working perfectly until 1 person too many entered the sector. Suddenly everything went to heck. We got lucky that we found that “magic number of crashing” before launch. What if one person less hadn’t showed up? Would we have spotted it?

We’ve had a longer beta test than any other game out there. I’m convinced it will go smoothly, though. End of the day, all you can do is cross your fingers and hope for the best.

What does it feel like to be on the other side of the server?

The good news is that I love my job more than anything. I wake up every morning looking forward to doing what I do. I drive to work thinking “Christ, I’m the luckiest bastard on the planet. People would kill to work in games”. That’s a pretty good feeling. To use the vernacular, “mad props” for Tyrant for convincing me to join the dark side.

I can’t imagine anything cooler than games. It’s art, it’s engineering, it’s psychology, it’s a business. Name another industry that allows so much creative freedom. It kicks ass.

There are, however, some drawbacks. Being told how badly you suck every day by people isn’t exactly good for one’s ego. Let’s go through last weekend. I was mail bombed at my home address, I received three e-mails telling me what a shitty person I was, read a message board where some idiot says “UO2 would have sucked, I’m glad the team got fired” (those of us with children really love being told how glad you are that we lost our jobs), read 16 negative messages about perceived problems with JumpGate design (in one case there were two people telling me how bad the game sucks for allowing PKs, and another two telling me how bad the game sucks because we don’t have enough PKs), was mailed a virus (you can’t open executable files when you work this business), and was harassed on IRC. I can’t even fight back. If you have a thin skin, you’re in the wrong business. It’s the price you pay to make games. I hate celebrities when they whine about being stalked; I’m not going to start bitching because of a couple of yahoos. Comes with the territory.

*********************

After having this discussion with GBob I have a new respect for those that make the move from being an \’e2\’80\’9carmchair designer\’e2\’80\’9d to actually doing the work and taking the heat. Is JumpGate going to be a PvP environment that makes survivors out of newbies? Probably. Will it have some issues come launch day? Most Likely. Will it be playable, or at least, more so than its recent competition? My opinion is YES. There is a calm surrounding GBob that almost tranquilizes the mind into believing everything is peachy. Perhaps it is because he doesn\’e2\’80\’99t seem harried or forced, because his company appears to be taking their time and ensuring the game will be ready to be play when it launches. As he mentioned Jumpgate has been in beta longer than most of the games available today, perhaps with that and the dedication from developers like GBob, they will set the standard for smooth launches.

FROM THE INSURANCE FIRM OF MOORE, SCHILLING & HUCKSTER [Author: Arcadian Del Sol]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FROM TONY SABBATTI of MOORE, SCHILLING & HUCKSTER

Dear sir or madam,

It has come to our attention that our client, operating under the name of “Lum the Mad”, has most graciously provided us with the fees and charges for the month of July, which we find most pleasing. We are happy to remind you that our “all indemnity” contract has successfully once again insured said business venture from various perils and calamities we see far too often in this fine, upstanding borough – calamities such as fire, explosion, Packard Sedans crashing through the facade, and accidentally falling off of a dark pier while fishing at 3am in the morning.

You can find all the skinny here, and on behalf of Moore, Schilling & Huckster, we wish you a safe and happy month of informative and inspirational internet entertainment.

START THE CLOCKS [Author: Niobe]

Funcom announces Anarchy Online is ‘stable enough’ to start charging registered customers in 30 days:

As we all know, the launch of Anarchy Online didn\’e2\’80\’99t go as smoothly as we would have hoped. In spite of that, the last week has marked considerable improvement (see today\’e2\’80\’99s update by Martin Amor), and although we acknowledge there are still some issues to resolve, we now consider the game playable. As a result of that, the month included with the purchase of the game will officially start as of today. In addition to the free game- time already provided because of our initial problems, all accounts registered as of today will receive an in-game surprise at a later stage as a token of our appreciation for your patience.

Reports as of last night are still resounding of intense lag and disconnects though I have not been in to see it personally yet. Anyone want to take a stab what kind of surprises AO players might get?

CROSSROADS MOVES TO A DONATION-BASED SYSTEM [Author: Niobe]

As you may have noticed, we have been running house ads for EzzMedia for the past several days. These ads were supposed to be replaced by a major corporate sponsorship. Unfortunately, that sponsorship has not been forthcoming, leaving the Crossroads revival without a steady revenue stream. Therefore, we have
decided to being pursuing alternative sources of cash. In the future, that will mean merchandise and special product offerings, but for now, we’ll just be opening up to contributions from you, our community. All contributions will go towards the network’s bandwidth and other costs, and any excess will be invested in better hardware and software, to make this the fastest, most reliable network around. We appreciate any and all support you can give.

I talked to Alex P. Macris, CEO of Warcry, about using donations to keep the network afloat. He had this to say:

“As a business, we think – and this’ll be obvious to you all, the community – that community is where the real value lies in online games. That’s why we are 100% behind the network. But XR is currently saddled with a lot of costs and creditors, and its going to take time and effort to make it viable again.”

I’m beginning to wonder how much worse the internet economy will get before it stabilizes.