May 2004


Courtesy of SirBruce via corpnews forums, the complete Final Fantasy XI census.

Of note:

* They specify that FFXI currently has 500k+ paying subscribers (which, I’m fairly certain, puts them ahead of every non-Asian MMO).

* 42% of their customer base hasn’t made it beyond level 10.

* 34% of all characters are level 1 mules.

What isn’t discussed is the breakdown between Japan and the US, or between PS2 and PC logins. Still, fairly interesting stuff.


Back from e3. Sensory overload as always. I was actually at the show for only about a day, it was all my old eyes and ears could take. Quite a few interesting new MMOs coming soon, we still live in interesting times.

From the corpnews forums, apparently SCEA likes eBay. (I don’t have an LA Times account, so can’t actually read/link the original article.) Dundee at SOE was quick to point out in the thread that SOE != SCEA and no, you’re not going to be able to buy your Ragebringer or your force crystals from a shopping cart any time soon, thankfully. I’m sure someone will do this, though (Simutronics already does something similar I believe, and they’re sort of teetering on the MMO/MUD divider), and I’m equally sure it will be a really bad idea. And I’m sure someone will insist I’m really, really wrong. 🙂

Anyway, I yoinked the old commenting system since Blogger apparently wants your first born before it will let you post. Everything should be ooookaaaaay now. Or not.


The UPI has posted an account from the ground level of the Baghdad insurgency.

“It was about that time that my buddy Scott and I nicknamed the building the Alamo, as when standing on top of it and watching kids face off with tanks surrounding a simple brick building, it was easy to feel like a last stand was in progress.

It was around that time when one night, U.S. warplanes fired two laser guided missiles into the side of the compound, knocking down a couple of walls. By noon the next day, Sadr City had rebuilt the wall and plastered a poster of Sadr on the side where the missile had hit.”

Here’s the rest.

The Texans lost the Alamo, too. That would explain why it’s a part of Mexico today. (No snide comments about immigration and demographic conquests, please.)

Meanwhile, al-Qaeda is posting snuff porn, I guess just to keep us bombing random buildings.


David Allen lays out the strange and terrible saga of Horizon’s early development for your perusal.

My only comment (since I know some of the folks involved) is that, as always, every story has three sides.

This story from the LtM archives, as far as I can tell, was what the line “rumors that sprung up on lumthemad” referred to.


A surprisingly informed, evenhanded look at virtual arbitrage from the PBS columnist.

The specific event that led to this column was the failed sale of $2,300 in platinum by a group of EverQuest fanatics who wanted to use the money to pay their way to a big EverQuest convention. It is their contention (not mine, I’m just the reporter here, remember) that the bad guy in this deal is either Jonathan Yantis or an associate of his. Jonathan Yantis runs Yantis Enterprises, which was until recently the big competitor to IGE for the buying and selling of this stuff that isn’t real. Yantis is in San Diego, IGE is in Florida, and earlier this year they merged with IGE buying Yantis, though the web sites (they are both in this week’s links) remain separate.

The players who came to me sold their platinum through a game-specific auction site. The deal went forward exactly as described above, and they suddenly had no platinum and no money. Wily hackers that they are, they tracked the mail records of the only trail that did exist, the e-mails arranging the exchange, and claim to have found that the buyer’s IP address was from the same range used by Yantis Enterprises. Further, they explored the qualifications of the “PayPal Verified” buyer and claim that most of the positive feedback came from Jonathan Yantis. Finally, they claim that the day after the transaction, the Yantis price to sell platinum on their EverQuest server suddenly dropped as though there was suddenly a larger supply acquired at little or no cost.

These players are fervent and angry and they have some real data so what happens now? Not much, and that is probably the real topic of this column.

E3, G4, B5, MI-6, 7-11!

Next week I will be in Los Angeles showing off stuff. I’m only going to be there for two days and I’m already pretty much booked solid, but if you see me run by yell at me and I probably won’t hear you!


The worst part is that I can’t tell the difference any more. I’m pretty sure they can’t, either.

If the definition of our aims are to liberate Iraq and bring stability, peace and justice, we are losing the war.

If the definition of our aims are to defeat terrorism, we are losing the war.

If the definition of our aims are to strengthen our economy and lower gas prices, we are losing the war.

If the definition of our aims are to imprison Saddam Hussein, we won. Yay!