June 2001


Which brings me to online games, ALL of which are big stinking piles of shit when released. AC might be a notable exception to this except for the fact that AC was just an engine when it was first released. The game came later. Safe but not exactly what most of us have in mind. Reminds me of a commercial for a car rental or a hotel chain. “So did you play an online game today?” “Not exactly. But I did take a lovely stroll through a very pretty engine.”

I bring this up because I have a friend who was anxiously awaiting the release of AO. Begged me to give him my beta account. When it came out he rushed out, got his preorder from the store, and then rushed home to play. The next day when he came to work I asked him if he had played AO the night before. “Not exactly,” he said, “it would be more fair to say that I spent the evening installing AO.” “Have you slept?” I asked (he was looking a little ragged under the eyes). “No,” he replied. “I literally spent the entire evening installing AO. I think it works now,” he said as he crawled off to his cube to get a few z’s on company time.

The same thing happened with WWIIo. A friend of mine who is a military recreationist ran out to get WWIIo. He was very excited about playing the game. When he came to work the next day I asked him how the game was. “My tank floats,” he said disgustedly and went into his office and shut the door. I believe the game went back to the store later that day and he’s back out in the woods playing with real tanks and real guns. Looks like Playnet/CRS lost a customer. Oh well. Doesn’t really look like Playnet/CRS cares all that much does it? If they did, would they have released a big stinking pile of shit?

I was just reading a thread on our forums about some dupe bugs that have popped up in AO. I’d be willing to bet that you dupe in AO the same way you duped in IOK back in 1990 and the same way you duped in LOK back in 1995 and the same way you duped in UO back in 1997 and the same way you duped in EQ in 1998. This brought to mind a recent quote by a clueless gameworld designer at Funcom: “We didn’t have anywhere to look for ideas and possible pitfalls. We had to invent everything and try to foresee any problems that might occur when the game goes live.”

One of the saddest parts of my friends being sucked into buying WWIIo and AO is that it was I who told them to look at these games in the first place. It was I who knew their interests and knew about these games and thought they’d be interested. It was also I who, at least in the case of AO, was begging my friend to wait a month or three to purchase. To wait until the game was finished. To wait until the game deserved to be purchased. It was again I who apologized to my military recreationist friend for recommending that he purchase and waste precious hours of his life on a game that never should have been released. But I once thought that companies wouldn’t release games that were completely unplayable. Well not after the fiascos that were UO and EQ. I mean, now there are companies that have made these mistakes, right? Current developers can learn from the releases of UO and EQ and not repeat the past, right? Wrong.

I’m not sure why I thought this. The developers of UO and EQ didn’t look to games like IOK/LOK, NWN and M59 for lessons. The developers of AC did. They looked and said “SHIT! Lets just release the engine and add the game in slowly over a period of several years and that way our players will love us.” Maybe they are on to something you know? Why I ever thought the developers of WWIIo and AO would have looked and learned is beyond me. I guess I’m just a little slow like that. It just seems so fantastical to me that people would produce a big stinking pile of shit and be willing to have their names associated with it. I mean when I screw up purposefully, I usually don’t go and slap my name all over. “This big stinking festering pile of shit is brought to you by Myschyf! Always buy the Myschyf brand for best in quality piles of shit!” No, I don’t think so. If I’m going to create something and try to get people to pay me for it, I’m going to try to produce something that people want to buy and will actually work the way it was designed. But, you know, I’m weird like that. Maybe its an old-fashioned thing and people growing up today don’t think that way anymore. Its been done. Passe. Over with. This is the new economy where we don’t actually have to deliver what we say and we can lie on the packaging.

So why do we encourage this? Why do we pay for this? So that ‘little’ international companies like Funcom won’t go out of business? Because, you know, if we don’t pay for these games when they first come out then the companies will fold and there won’t be any games for us to play? No. Wrong. But even if it isn’t, have you become so addicted to the online experience that the mere prospect of doing without it sends you running to the store to shell out your hard-earned money for something that you know will not work as expected? There is not one other industry that most of you would put up with this from — yet the game industry is excused. It’s software and, of course, writing software is hard.

There’s more though. It gets worse. By purchasing unfinished games you send a clear message to the game industry that releasing unfinished games is ok with you. That you approve of the practice. Until you stop paying for unfinished games this isn’t likely to get any better. As long as development companies think they can release a game in its unfinished state to get the funding to finish it or to appease their stockholders this state of affairs will continue. Only you can stop it.

So this is a request. I urge you, implore you, beg you even to fight back. If the game doesn’t work take it back. Get your money back. Refuse to pay for big stinking piles of shit. We have the power, we can make them rebuild it and all that groovy sloganistic type of crap. But its true. Its time for this type of thing to end and I urge you to do what you can to make the online gaming industry more responsible to its patrons.

AND NOW THE FAKE NEWS [Author: Arcadian Del Sol]


Sources entirely made up by the Fake News Center are reporting that hot on the heels of recent unprecedented success by Norwegian developer FunCom, said developer has purchased competitive developer Wolfpack for an undisclosed sum. FunCom recently enjoyed record breaking first-day sales of its online game “Anarchy Offline”. By that evening, hordes of screaming fans rushed their local malls to find the nearest software store. “It was total retail hysteria. People were scrambling over one another, pushing and shoving each other just so they could be the first on their block to return Anarchy Online,” said Seth Moore, Assistant Manager of Electromagnets Botique in Hoboken. “At first I thought I would have to call in for backup. I’m just glad we managed to complete the World War 2 Online returns the day before. I think that experience really helped us. It paid off. I’m just glad nobody was hurt.”

FunCom has enjoyed a massive influx of American Dollars, not from Anarchy Online but from recent stock investments into struggling music retailer “Waxie Maxie.” The rapid pace in which consumers ate up the relatively cheaply produced Daido and Bjork albums translated into huge profits for FunCom. They reportedly re-invested those profits by purchasing Wolfpack, and its developing project, ShadowBane. Does this forecast doom for ShadowBane? We have intercepted fake FunCom memorandums that outline the plan to rename ShadowBane to Anarchy: Legends as the first order of business. When pressed for comment by Fake News Field Reporter Ken Hurglethaw, a FunCom executive who doesn’t actually exist was eager to allay any fears that this recent development would be the ultimate doom of the much maligned and greatly anticipated Shadowbane. “ShadowBane development will continue. Mark my words. If anything, this is a good thing for Wolfpack. Have we learned any lessons with Anarchy Online? I’d say yes. Certainly we will take our time with the ShadowBane team and ensure that it will be ready, stable, and fun, long before next Wednesday’s release.”


Fake News Correspondent Ken Jackman was able to invent the following public announcement that nobody at the Doctor Twister Network issued:

PRESS RELEAS: Doctor Twister is no longr here. He will be tak

Shocking news to his faithful reader, indeed.
Finally contacted (not really) for comment, Doctor Twister had only this to add to his press release: “I am very proud to admit that yes I have taken a job with Mystic Beverages. I have always considered myself a Juice Guy, and frankly they bottle the best orange-mango-banana-fruitberry splash I have ever tasted.”

Earlier today, the Doctor Twister Network incorrectly reported that he was being interviewed by Mythic Entertainment. This turned out to be incorrect information as confirmed by Mystic Juice Beverages, Inc. Only moments ago, this update was removed from the twister network and replaced with fronting white boys standing before a pack of late model Chevy Cavaliers painted up to look like sports cars.


Considered by many to be the Howard Hughes of the Internet Generation, game designer and extravagant Texan Richard Garriott was spotted walking to his carriage from the Houston Multiplex 9 talking on a cell phone with persons unknown. Having reportedly been enthralled by the new animated feature Atlantis, Garriott immediately began contacting agents in order to book a submarine tour of the famed submarine metropolis. Upon learning that said sea-city is in fact a work of fiction, Garriott shifted course and started calling his personal home contractor, Lord Baron Von HausScheister.
“Yes, Lord British called me and asked if I could help develop a new project for him. He has always wanted a home somewhere in Europe and having been captivated by his trip to the Titanic and having been impressed with what he saw in the cartoon movie, he asked me if it would be possible to build him a castle underneath the Mediterranian. I of course replied yes because even if it isn’t possible, he pays me lots of money to say yes to him. While the technology still may not be available to begin this project, I have pre-ordered fifty million square feet of saran wrap. Oh, and some dry socks.”

And that is all the fake news we have time for today. Be sure to check back each and every network down-time for more from our desk.
Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.

NEW ZONE IN EQ [Author: myschyf]

So there I was…..minding my own business in The Overthere, when all of a sudden I see the message: “d00d sow plz”.

Of course, my natural instinct was not to answer, since I thought the clueless newb (hereafter referred to politely as “the petitioner”) must have been poorly informed at best.

Boy was I ever wrong.

I switch out of 1st person into an external camera, and what did my wandering eyes behold? Only myself and the petitioner.

So I says to myself….”Self? You need to edumacate this fella!” 🙂

(Keep in mind what the overall setting looked like: There I was, in skeleton form, carrying a scythe, FLOATING IN MIDAIR IN A MEDITATING POSITION, with a LARGE dark-brown skeleton named “Gibober” standing behind me. Ummm….No, skippy, I’m not a druid or a shaman.)

I say “Wish I could, bro, but I don’t have SoW. I’m a Necromancer.”

The Petitioner says, “$#*&@#$ dick, sow me already! it’s for a cr”

Feeling as if my feathers had been ruffled a bit, I do a “/who all dumbass” (um..pardon..I meant “/who all petitioner”)

This is where I discovered the “/who all” bug. Certainly it must have been a bug, right? There’s NO WAY IN CREATION the dumbas…err…petitioner could have been a level 31 Dark Elf Wizard, right???? RIGHT????? /em begins to cry like a little girl.

Well, needless to say, I couldn’t have been any more shocked than if my pet began dancing an Irish Jig. I quickly begin the arduous task of maintaining my composure, while deciding how best to deal with this tricky situation.

I say, “Necromancer’s can’t cast SoW”.

Petitioner says, “Bull@#$%! you cast a spell while you were running and you sped up! i couldn’t catch you until you sat down! if you’re not going to sow me just say so you dont have to be a dick about it a$$hole”

Yes I know….he didn’t use any punctuation in that last sentence.

I say, “I have JBoots.”

He says, “what are they”

Before I have a chance to pick my chin up off the floor….

Petitioner asks, “can you buff my hps my hp sux”

I say, “I can’t buff you, dude. I’m a necromancer. I only have one buff that you would probably want.”

He says, “yeah the one you won’t give me dick”

Ok. Time to have fun with the hopelessly clueless.

I say, “Why do you need a sow?”

He says, “i need to get to burned woods to hunt. sumbody said its perfect for my level”

Yep. That’s what he said……”burned woods”.

I say, “man are you ever in the wrong place.”

He says, “?”

Apparently he found the “question mark” key conveniently located nearby other various and sundry communication facilitators.

I didn’t answer him.

He repeats, “??”

Found it twice…good for him.

He repeats, “???”

Having an IQ greater than plantlife, I sensed a pattern forming.

I say, “You are NO WHERE near Burned Woods.”

He says, “my friend told me it was in kunark”

I say, “Yeah, the operative word there is ‘WAS’. There was a major patch a couple of months ago after a bunch of complaints were filed about ‘static content’.”

He says, “?”

I say, “!”

He says, “?”

I say, “,”

He says, “wtf”

I say, “no, already have some.”

He says, “????”

I don’t respond.

He says, “so where the @#$% is burned woods”

He lost the question mark button again. Probably popped off when he was sniffing his feet.

I say, “Well, THIS week it’s south of Freeport. It changes with every patch, since they began randomizing zone locations.”

My guild is hysterical at this point. And I haven’t even told them the ENTIRE story yet. Just snippets.

He says, “@#$% i just got off the boat”

I say, “You don’t need the boat.”

He says “why”

I say, “You’re a wizard!”

He says, “how you know that”

I say, “I did a /wh…nevermind….the important thing is you have teleportation spells.”

He says, “oh yeah the green ones”

I nod.

I say, “Yep. The ‘green ones’. Pretty nice how you have them grouped by color.”

He says, “thx”

I say, “How’d you think about doing it that way?”

He says, “they were all @#$%## up when i got this char”

I say, “Sit down and mem the spell ‘Fay Gate’.”

He says, “why”

Question mark key is on the ground in front of your chair, guy. Mixed in with your collection of boogers.

I say, “It’s going to put you within spitting distance of Burned Woods.”

He says, “how do you know”

I say, “All patch messages come with a zone connection map.”

He says, “oh”

I say, “Ok. You have it memmed now?”

He had just stood up after what I assumed was meditating/looking at his spell book.

He says, “yeah”

I say, “Ok. Cast the spell and let me know when you get there.”

Dumba…errr….Petitioner begins to cast a spell.

A LONG time goes by…..ok, maybe 5 minutes 🙂

I still haven’t heard from him.

Getting curious:

I tell petitioner, “Are you there yet?”

No reply. No reply at all. [Yes, I’m a Genesis fan… :)]

Obviously he’s there, or my tell wouldn’t have gone through.

I tell petitioner, “Hit the ‘r’ key to reply to me.”

He replies, “i’m here now where do i go.”

Right idea….wrong punctuation mark. Oh well. “C” for effort.

I tell petitioner, “Ok, do you see a hotkey on the screen that says ‘Sense Heading’?”

He replies, “no”

I reply, “Hit the arrow buttons one by one until you see one.”

It was a guess, but an educated one.

He replies, “found it”

I reply, “Click on it.”

He replies, “north”

I reply, “Ok, you need to head east along the path. Keep going until the path turns north. When it forks to the right, take the right fork.”

He replies, “ok”

Who knows, maybe the guy who sold his account on Ebay worked his Felwithe faction up.

He replies, “sumbody told me i shouldnt be here cause i’m a dark elf”

I reply, “They were roleplaying.”

He replies, “oh hehe @#$%@#$ morons ;P”

Priceless. Utterly priceless, I tell you.

I reply, “Where are you?”

He replies, “i see something now. looks like a castle”

I reply, “Run into the castle as fast as you can. The guards might give you some trouble, just keep running.”

Yeah…damned conscience started kicking in.

A fairly long period of time passes. Not sure how long, but longer than I was expecting.

I tell petitioner, “What happened?”

As if I didn’t know….

He replies, “my spells are gone!”

I reply, “What happened?”

He replies, “i died 🙁 why”

I reply, “Oh man! Did I tell you to run east or west?”

He replies, “east wtf???”

I reply, “Yikes. My bad. You should have run west.”

He replies, “?”

I reply, “So where are you now?”

He replies, “how can i tell”

I reply, “Look right after you see ‘Loading please wait’. It should tell you ‘You have entered [zone]’.”

He replies “it doesnt say [zone] there.”

After smacking my head against my monitor….

I reply, “What does it say in place of [zone]?”.

Get this….

He replies, “Burning Woods”

I nearly fell out of my chair! I couldn’t have PLANNED it that way!

He replies, “is that the same as burned woods”

I reply, “No, but you’re close. Start running south so you can get your corpse back.”

He replies, “i have to get my corpse back?????”

/ignore petitioner

Moral of the story: EBay…Just Say No! 🙂

Out of sheer curiosity, I took him off ignore later to find out what happened.

I tell petitioner, “How’s it going?”

He replies, “wtf? where you been”

I reply, “been afk, sorry.”

He replies, “got my corpse back. some dude rezzed me.”

My conscience somewhat eased…

I reply, “Really? Cool! Where are you now?”

He replies, “iceclad ocean”

I scratch my head a few times.

I reply, “Why Velious?”

He replies, “the guy that rezzed me told me burned woods was in western wastes this week”

I don’t recall exactly how long it took me to stop laughing. I stopped breathing shortly before my dog dialed 911.

He replied, “@#$%&* wouldnt sow me either. what is that sh#$ gold?”

That’s what finally killed me. I’m writing this from the afterlife.

Mujahid Mukhtaar

Questmaster of the Enchanted Circle


Unfortunately, that’s where the good news ends.

Despite the best hopes of AO’s partisans, Funcom had no rabbit to pull out of its hat on release. The client released to the world was the identical client that beta 4 testers were using (in fact, beta testers could log in immediately and skip the 14 MB or so of patches that awaited new users). People still crashed often when zoning, or while in combat, or just standing there. The unofficial server monitor shows a 90% uptime, but that’s obviously belied by the past 2 days, most of which show red downtime during actual playing hours.

Other problems are legion. Clipping is still a huge issue, and even some doors during missions look as though they enter into “funhouse land” (in other words, outside the modeled area). Huge lag in populated or large poly-count areas such as Omni-1 is still a problem. Combine that with the truly inexcusable errors associated with the retail package (lack of SSL protection for the registration server and many CD keys rejected by the signup page) and you begin to wonder if Anarchy Online’s developers modeled the dewdspeaking leets after Funcom management. The official forums, never the most civil of places, have completely devolved into histrionic finger-pointing and name calling, with the sides neatly divided between “fanboys” who still believe Funcom can do no wrong and these early problems serve to weed out the weak, and irate customers who feel they deserve something in the box they purchased besides HelloWorld.exe and a doughnut.

Marius Enge, Funcom’s Customer Service Manager, had this to say from the inevitable mea culpa on the official news site:

As you may have read or experienced first hand, the launch of Anarchy Online has not been without its own hardships. Registration difficulties, slow patching, semi frequent game crashes as well as worries regarding the security of the registration connection have all encompassed the first few days of Anarchy Online opening the world of Rubi-Ka to our own.

Firstly, on behalf of the entire Anarchy Online team and Funcom, we sincerely apologize for any inconveniences or current dilemmas the launch of Anarchy Online may have caused. The launching of a Massively Multiplayer Online RPG is a monumental task and certainly without question is one that Funcom, with each passing minute, moves closer to triumphantly conquering.

Reading that, I’m reminded of Bill Clinton’s “apology” for lying to the nation about his affair with Monica Lewinsky, which within a head-spinning twenty seconds turned into an assault on his nemesis Kenneth Starr.

“Triumphantly conquering”? Save that for when I can actually play the game longer than fifteen minutes, OK?


More from the Island of Misfit Toys, formerly known as Norway:

Thanks to J for pointing me to Fear who quoted from this dude, the following moment of sheer insanity from the mind of Mister Morton Byom:

MB: I think one of the biggest challenges we had is that there are going to be more players in our gameworld than in any other gameworld to date. We didn’t have anywhere to look for ideas and possible pitfalls. We had to invent everything and try to foresee any problems that might occur when the game goes live.


WHAT’S IN A NAME? [Author: Eldin]

A lawsuit, apparently.

No, no lawsuit has been filed as of yet, however, let\’e2\’80\’99s take a look at an article from Dr. Twister (that Jerry Springer of the online world):

Funcom support,

I am formally asking for redress of grievances for the theft of my name. I am a very well known clan leader. I have published to your boards many many time and someon has stoplen my name on purpose to harass me. II will be cross postign this to AO Basher and other boards. I think this is unbelievably bad harassment of loyal fans. Please refer to the thread below for proof of this incident. I have pasted it in here in case the aggrssors shoudl edit and remove their posts.

Some people should learn how to type properly if they\’e2\’80\’99re going to use phrases such as \’e2\’80\’9credress of grievances.\’e2\’80\’9d (Hey, it sounds legal like, right?)

You can read the thread this takes place in here.

Does this mean any use of my proper name (even if my proper name is common and used by others in this world of, oh, 6 billion people) is hereby prohibited? Can one copyright one\’e2\’80\’99s own name and then demand that no others use such a moniker in any forum, public or private, from this day forward?

I leave those questions to lawyers, since I am not one (yet).

I will make one comment. The name Eldin is derived from copyrighted works of fiction that I myself have written. All characters therein are copyrighted, including the character of Eldin. However, I do not expect anyone in this world to not use the name Eldin, whether it pertains to a piece of writing or a moniker in an online game. As there are no current celebrities with the name Eldin (as opposed to say, Madonna), I feel pretty good about using the name freely.

I\’e2\’80\’99m fairly certain that someone else can use the name Eldin wherever they want.

Then again, I\’e2\’80\’99m not a snot-nosed, punk gamer who feels the world should revolve around him at any given time. Though, opinions may vary on that one.

What does this latest idiocy indicate?

People are broken is too easy, here. People are whiny, self-centered twits who have a severely misdirected sense of entitlement might be a tad more accurate.

AND FROM THIS CORNER… [Author: Lum the Mad]

You knew that with Anarchy Online opening up, Asheron’s Call announcing an expansion and Ultima Online tossing all the rules in their “Crown Royal” dicebag and doing a reroll, that Everquest had to do something. That something, Sullon Zek (called “Gankus Zek” fondly by most of us) went live just now. I made a DE wizard to reserve my name and idly did a /who in Nektulos Forest. 228 people, all under level 3. Um, I’ll level up some other time, thanks.

Why am I playing on Gankus Zek? Folks like this.


People creating their new Anarchy Online account today noticed that the account registration page at Funcom wasn’t SSL-encrypted. When you’re sending your credit card number over the net, this can be a problem. (Take it from me personally, who’s been signed up to, among other things, weird fetish pr0n sites and Russian ISPs.) Funcom’s customer support had this to say:


We are aware of this. The page will become secure as soon as we possibly can, in the meantime, those who don’t feel like registering an account on a not secure site, will just have to wait. I’m sorry about that.


Torkel Andr\’c3\’a8 Olsen

FunCom Support Department

We’re sorry, too. Also, just in case you weren’t paranoid enough, your username and password is mailed back to you via plaintext email. Now that’s security.