October 2006

I believe the vernacular for this is “Pwned, biznatchio”

Hint: don’t do this.

br0kenrabbit says:
Can I be honest with you, Greg?

Greg_ValveOLS says:

br0kenrabbit says:
Look, I don’t know how you go this MSN account name, don’t really care, either.

br0kenrabbit says:
Unlike you, I DO work for Valve. Trace my ip and you’ll see.

Greg_ValveOLS says:

Greg_ValveOLS says:

br0kenrabbit says:
Trace it.

Greg_ValveOLS says:

br0kenrabbit says:
Start/run/cmd type Tracert and then my IP address and hit enter.

Greg_ValveOLS says:
oh k

br0kenrabbit says:
As an employee, I know that Valve employees will NEVER contact users over MSN. I also know a valve employee will NEVER ask a user for his/her username and password.

br0kenrabbit says:
I’m putting a temporary hold on your Steam account.

Greg_ValveOLS says:

Keep reading for the surprise twist!

How Not To Run An MMO, In 5 Easy Steps

MMORPG.com has the story of what happens when an MMO goes out with both a bang AND a whimper. You know your community is spiralling into the ground with the speed (and loud death-whine) of a Stuka when your ex-outsourced community manager is fighting with you, in public, over who owns the license to your message board software.

Pity, he started out such a friendly little guy. How could you not trust your struggling game community to the care of Light Bulb Guy?

In Soviet Russia, we choose your friends for you

I didn’t pick up Battlefield 2142 because, well, I didn’t really want to pay EA $50 for the privilege of having my PC scanned and ads sent JUST FOR ME. However, they apparently have issues beyond that. A blog reader sends this in (although you can blame me for most of the snarky links):

When GameSpy went with a Communist Russia theme for their latest clo..err.. revolutionary new chat app nothing like XFire, they seem to have taken it a bit too far and have it ‘equalizing the masses’ by actually wiping the experience of Battlefield 2142 accounts. While I’m sure Lenin would be proud, players don’t seem to have the same rosy outlook regarding their forced demotion and subsequent return to newbie gear.

Apparently, during the configuration process of Comrade, a duplicate soldier is mistakenly created in the Battlefield 2142 account server and becomes the only soldier you can login to with that name. Of course, this pod-soldier is fresh off the vine and doesn’t know how to use things like, say, grenades, but hey, you can’t overthrow the Battlefield bourgeoisie if you’re sitting on a stat horde of your own now can you?

One would think that this rather major launch blunder (especially since Comrade was bundled with BF2142) would be followed by a fix – adding the experience together of the two soldiers still in the Battlefield 2142 database and prescribing something for the multiple personality disorder, but GameSpy has a much better idea: just delete one of them!

After all, adding two numbers together would be far too much of a programming burden on GameSpy (which is likely true – we’ve seen GameSpy Arcade), and gamers surely won’t mind losing a week or two worth of experience. After all, if getting there is half the fun, and you force them to get there twice, you’ve effectively increased their fun 50%!

Well played, Tsar GameSpy! I’d raise my glass to you, but my soldier and I are busy waiting in the bread line.

Second Life, but First in Hype

From the often amusing Matt Mihaly comes this corker of a description about Second Life’s latest OMG METAVERSE!!1! press outing:

Second Life, that nefarious den of copyright infringement, nerds having chatsex, and the neverending search for the next trivial public relations opportunity, saw hasn\’e2\’80\’99t-been-hot-for-years musician Ben Folds attend a \’e2\’80\’9claunch party\’e2\’80\’9d for his new album recently. Almost two dozen people attended. That\’e2\’80\’99s right, two dozen. Just think of the impact! Why, if only half of them buy his album, he\’e2\’80\’99ll have sold twelve albums!

I’m not QUITE as cynical as Matt; while he sees Second Life as solely a platform for launching press releases and buyout offers, I see it as also keeping Terra Nova busy!

Edit: The acerbic UK tech tabloid The Register apparently caused Daniel Terdiman of CNet to “sever his ties to Linden Lab”. Said tie: a reference given by Linden’s Philip Rosedale on his resume. Apparently Second Life isn’t the only online medium given to breathless publicity over not much of anything!

In The Grim Future, There Are Only Top Twenty Lists

….and everyone gets to be on one.

That’s the best explanation I can think of for Next Generation’s not only having Michael “Zonk” Zenke of Slashdot and Morgan “Tee Hee!” Webb of fifteen minutes ago listed as gaming journalists, but appearing next to each other.

Tune in to G4 next week, where Zonk explains how Blizzard has been going back and forth on Tactical Mastery and Morgan tries to spell the letter “J”. It’ll be great, really.

Virtual Economies, Real Bureaucracy

Scientific American weighs in with this month’s “OMG THE IRS WILL FIND OUT ABOUT MY EPICS” story, this as much other mainstream media interest apparently driven by Second Life’s relentless publicity machine. (The story refers to Second Life and World of Warcraft consistently in that order, for example.) This one is different in that instead of just dipping into the Terra Nova rolodex, the reporter interviewed Sam Lewis, an MMO designer who used to be an actual economist.

The rapid emergence of virtual economies has outstripped current tax law in many areas, but there are some clear-cut guidelines that already apply. For example, people who cash out of virtual economies by converting their assets into real-world currencies are required to report their incomes to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service or the tax authority where they live in the real world.

It is less clear how to deal with income and capital gains that never leave the virtual economy, income and capital gains that in the real world would be subject to taxes.

“Let’s say the IRS decides they want a valuation of your assets. We don’t have a stock market where we can as of the 31st of December, these assets went up, these went down,” Lewis said.

Later in the story, the real horror:

“I found that talking about this issue with some of the other economists on the committee, they are not really familiar with what a virtual economy is. The idea of Second Life or World of Warcraft or some of these other synthetic universes, they have trouble wrapping their head around it,” [Dan Miller, senior economist for the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress] said.

However, there are probably some on Capitol Hill who won’t require much explanation. “I can almost guarantee that there are some members of Congress spending time in Second Life or World of Warcraft,” he said.

Well, where ELSE are they going to keep track of their pages?

He Offered To Pay Me $100 To Post This

I recently got an email offering $100 to post a guild ad. Unfortunately my price is somewhat higher (note to gold farmers: $100,000 gets you a long, emotional post about how your company is the only ethical choice in responding to poorly designed diku derivative time sink systems! US currency only, please) but you can follow up this post by posting links to your own guild. I mean, other more successful sites have a history of somewhat successful collections of like minded indivuduals coming together to, well, crack jokes in /gu.

Or you can just mock a PvP guild recruiting on a design blog. Your choice, really. At brokentoys.org, we’re all about value.
Continue reading…