July 2007

If The Goreans Take Over, Women Will Be Forced To Wear Revealing Silk Burkas

There are so many things wrong with this article, it defies my ability to count. Literally every paragraph has some sort of inaccuracy!

 On the darker side, there are also weapons armouries in SL where people can get access to guns, including automatic weapons and AK47s. Searches of the SL website show there are three jihadi terrorists registered and two elite jihadist terrorist groups.

Once these groups take up residence in SL, it is easy to start spreading propaganda, recruiting and instructing like minds on how to start terrorist cells and carry out jihad.

That’s right – al’Qaeda’s new frontier? SECOND LIFE.

 Rohan Gunaratna, author of Inside al-Qa’ida, says it is a new phenomena that, until now, has not been openly discussed outside the intelligence community.

But he says security agencies are extremely concerned about what home-grown terrorists are up to in cyberspace. He believes the dismantling and disruption of military training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan after September 11 forced terrorists to turn to the virtual world.

Obviously Mr. Gunaratna hasn’t been getting the news from Pakistan recently.  Understandable, he’s busy infiltrating W-Hat looking for the WMDs, I guess. But fear not! There are, of course, terrorists in Second Life. SOVIET terrorists.

Nobody likes me calling it a Leninist conspiracy, but that’s because they take these two words very literally. Leninist merely means people for whom the ends justifies the means, that is, they believe their cause, which is to disrupt the grid and have people not take it seriously, justifies even violent and criminal means, just as the Bolsheviks did. They also understand, as Lenin did, the usefulness of having people smeared like “Prokofy Neva” or “Mia Linden,” and they understand the utilitarian value of the useful idiots like Tateru, who distract from the conspirators. And here, conspiracy is used not in some tinfoil outerspace notion, but in the direct, criminal-code language defining overt acts planned and committed by two or more people in a group.

But you World of Warcraft players snickering into your temporarily undersized shoulder pads should know that the terrorists ARE INSIDE THE HOUSE. DO NOT PUT DOWN THE PHONE.

Kevin Zuccato, head of the Australian High Tech Crime Centre in Canberra, says terrorists can gain training in games such as World of Warcraft in a simulated environment, using weapons that are identical to real-world armaments.

Zuccato told an Australian Security Industry Association conference in Sydney that people intent on evil no longer had to travel to the target they wanted to attack to carry out reconnaissance. He said they could use virtual worlds to create an exact replica and rehearse an entire attack online, including monitoring the response and ramifications.

“We need to start thinking about living, working and protecting two worlds and two realities,” Zuccato says.

I do agree with Messr. Zuccato: we need to start thinking. It would be a nice change of pace, at any rate.

Dodongo Dislikes Cancer

As part of this weekends’ Relay For Life event (which has raised a whole lot of money already), for $L200 you can turn your PC into a Gamecube and slash your way to greatness and rupees. To quote the rules:

Zelda Quest
A dark game of mystery, intrigue and dodongos.

The Zelda Quest is what you make it out to be, you can spend your day leisurely exploring and collecting rupees or you can take the offensive and pound some rupees out of the various guards and monsters around Hyrule. If you were particularly cut-throat you could attack other players, and steal their rupees!

That’s right – Rupee to crush. It’s for a good cause, so get out there and dislike some smoke, courtesy of your griefy friends at W-Hat.


Dealer Busts

Linden Labs announced today that “casinos” in Second Life will be shut down, effective immediately.

Casinos were up until recently at the top of the “Popular Place” search listings (which are, to be sure, heavily gamed by paying people to loiter), and were popular for much the same reasons casinos in real life are: you can blow a lot of money with the hope of winning. Since the L$ is easily converted to $, this has long been thought a possible legal liability for Linden Labs.

Currently the casinos in SL are still going strong. It’ll be interesting to see if there’s any attempt at an active enforcement (something Linden isn’t exactly known for) and if so, how this will effect the stupendously high “$ traded in Second Life” figure proudly advertised on Linden Labs’ front page. (Second Life Insider does a good job at tracking that on a day-by-day basis, so that’ll be where to watch for that.)

See you in Ultima Online… no, Shadowbane… uh, DAOC… hey, SWG… wait, Horizons…. Vanguard?… Darkfall! YEAH! Totally see you in Darkfall, newb!

It’s nice to know that the rabid hardcore still exist, and still hate you.

So how do these games become more accessible to the drooling masses? Easy! Just implement grinding, level treadmills, restrict any and all competition whatsoever. These systems are intentionally in place to prevent anyone from over-achieving or failing. I recently saw a WoW ad that said “Come join 8 million heroes!” Suddenly every single player is automatically a hero? Essentially, most MMOs are designed so anyone can hop on a game, gain levels and pay $15 US per month for their instant hero status.

These designers don’t want to reward players for their achievements. They just want to make every mouth-breather who logs on think that they’re special, for fear that they’ll quit playing at any sign of disappointment. And even worse, they expect us all to be morons.

Ah, for the days when games violently punched you in the throat and dared you to keep paying them money.

The problem with hardcore PvP games is, as has been often said by myself and others, that while many think they are of the hardcore, few actually are. And while the spectre of being killed repeatedly with no recourse, your home sowed with salt and your guild banners used for tablecloths for the meal of human jerky you kindly donated to may sound nice at first, the bloom tends to fade from the rose when you realize that no, you’re probably never going to be the guys carving the jerky.

Which isn’t to say that Darkfall won’t TOTALLY ROCK YOUR FACE, because honestly I haven’t a clue. But the rhetoric from their fans sure looks familar!