October 1999


There’s a press release posted on the Dr. Jinx Network. It’s not on the UO site, I haven’t heard about it from my myriad sources (yes, both of you), but Jinx got it. Hell, maybe he wrote it himself. If so he has a bright future in public relations. Anyway go here and all you Aussies rejoice that you can now PK with regular ping times like normal people.

However, I am beating the Dr. Jinx Network to the punch on the new Volunteer Shard. HAH! Apparently this is like the Test Center, only even more special. Maybe this has something to do with encouraging the mentally ill to vote. At any rate, YOU TOO can play on the Volunteer Shard, and in fact the Men, Women And Other in Blue wish you would, because, you know, being a chief is no fun at all without indians.

NOTES FROM CUBICLE 4104 [Author: wirehead]

I came to the sudden realization this weekend that ORPGs were becoming utterly boring nightmares.

Well, it wasn’t really sudden, more of a creeping realization. It came to me while playing Everquest. An experience, that no doubt, many of you share.

I didn’t want much. I just wanted a character that didn’t totally suck. So I went through the following:

– My 15th level shaman, who is just high enough level to totally suck at melee, yet low enough level to not have any spells worth a flip. Tank mage my ass. The only thing he is really good at is being a coin-operated SoW machine. You shamen out there know what I mean. Walk into a zone and hear 8 people, none of whom you know, /tell you with “Gimme SoW”. Actually now they’ve gotten more ambitious and now ask for “Gimme SoW and buffs”.

– My 8th level wizard. Everywhere he goes he is reviled as a killstealer. Never mind that I personally have never stolen anyone’s kills (except for the one guy who was being beaten into goo by 5 orc centurions. He was very cross with me over trying to knock out a couple.) Wizards kill steal, I was a wizard, therefore I was a killstealer. Most of these imprecations were delivered to me with the backdrop of the spellbook, since of course that is all a wizard ever sees. I wonder if there is a danger of the spellbook image burning into your screen.

– My 9th level ranger. After much powergaming until my eyes bled, I finally got him to 9th level where he can, after 12 fizzles, cast a spell to heal 10 points of damage, and then promptly sit down and regenerate. This is quite a relief since up until this point he could only sit down and regenerate.

– My 3rd level troll shadowknight. If I could pick one character I actually enjoyed roleplaying, it would be him, because let’s face it, deep down we all want to be this big green thing that swings a huge sword and casts arcane spells to suck away your life. Verant realizes this and jacked up the experience point tables so that it takes approximately 12 million slain snakes and rats and other such harmless yard animals to advance a level.

The common denominator among all these is that the experience of actually playing them sucks.

Well, that’s Everquest. I guess we could try Ultima Online. I hear that’s somewhat less tedious now. Hey. Quit throwing things. I made a new character and wandered around looking for random roleplaying opportunities. From this I discovered that many putatively female characters (I say this because we all know all female characters in UO are played by men. Except for the female PKs.) like to giggle. Also that there is some plot going on. I really couldn’t tell you what it was, except to say that those involved take it very seriously. I think it involves dreams.

But those are old and tired, you say. Come to Asheron’s Call where… um, everything blew up. Hey, it looked cool!

However, I think that just tearing into the dev teams of these games for no apparent reason is just wrong. No, we should reserve that sort of free-floating bile for the volunteer programs. Instead, let’s try to figure out what these games need that would make them somewhat interesting to actual human beings. Let’s think positive!

While you’re thinking positive, let me remind you that on NPR today, the topic of “Talk of the Nation” is ensuring that the mentally ill vote. I am not making this up.

NO SEX FOR YOU! [Author: wirehead]

The latest issue of Computer Games Review (subtitled “Print Is Still Relevant Goddamit”) retracted their earlier rumor that UO2 will actually have digitized models for simulated reproductive activity (or, in lay terms, pr0n). All you horny bastards are going to have to keep messing up your keyboards the old fashioned way.


Also in CGW (the magazine that comes right to my house so I don’t have to leave to regurgitate old rumors) is a rumor that Verant is working on a team-oriented shooter set in a persistent world.

As everyone who plays Everquest knows, if so, this would make Verant’s FIRST persistent world.

“How many times have YOU killed Emporer Crush?”
“Oh, 4 or 5. You?”
“Only 3.”
“Make that 4.”


Been down with the flu bug last couple of days which has really taken away the motivation to post updates. So let’s do a quick recap of news you already read somewhere else:

Another Mad Tower posted a new comic which included puppies, Lady MOI mutiliation, and Calandryll transvetitism. Fun for the whole family!

In UO land the Trash Barrels are barrelling onward toward their inevitable conclusion. Actually they already reached their inevitable conclusion, as people are bitching that they can’t get every item on the trash barrel menu. Instead of realizing that these items are pitched solely to pinheads with towers full of goo that they’ve accumulated over the past two years because they have no life whatsoever, they instead believe that it is their sovereign right as players to make their house’s furniture even more of an eyesore than it already is. As always, the CoB Dev Board is in the vanguard of whining here.

Fear is getting much love. What’s up, man? Everybody thinks you’re a patsy or something. Go interview Ronald “Buy My Goddam Shaman” McDonald, you’ll feel better and Ron will probably say something about masturbating. Gives your show that “edgy” feel.

EQ has miraculously become an entirely new game as thousands of players, having read the Not The Producer’s Letter, proceed to play nice. “Is THAT all they wanted?”, EQ’s assholes cried in unison.

And the developers of Asheron’s Call, responding to the cries of players complaining that the world was barren and empty, blew up the few things that were on the server. That’ll show ’em!


Looking like the former at the moment, judging from Tyrant’s mailing to an Australian UO players’ mailing list:

We are moving forward on a local server for Australia / New Zealand. We do not have a hosting partner selected at this time, which will delay us somewhat. It was disappointing that this was not resolved when our Network Operations manager visited Australia last week. More on this hosting relationship will be announced once we get this sorted out.

We do want to launch before Christmas, but it will be dependent on getting a hosting partner.

Gordon Walton
VP Online Services
Origin Systems, Inc.


From this morning’s patch message:

Transfer of Accounts and in-game Properties (Ebay, etc.)

This is a reminder that, as per the EverQuest License Agreement, ownership transfer of accounts, characters, items (except for in-game trading/selling/buying), and any other game related properties are expressly forbidden. Doing so is in violation of the License, done at your own risk, and we (989 Studios/Sony Online Entertainment/Verant) are not responsible for any issues resulting from such a transaction, including but not limited to fraud, sales of banned or suspended characters, purchased character’s bad reputations, etc.

I suspect this is in reaction to several con artists who have sold high level accounts on eBay, and then “re-transferred” them back to themselves once the money was recieved. Caveat Emptor.

However, if you’re looking for something to sell on eBay, the spoiler to the Fiery Avenger quest has finally been posted. Unconfirmed but looks genuine.


New page on uo.com: In Concept (in other words, things that might or might not be implemented, depending on the phase of the moon). It’s about boats. Here’s some good lines to pique your fancy:

Keyless entry: Only “owners” may open the plank to the boat

Ship tillerman will now resurrect players (One of the conditions given is “Player must be dead”. Well, that makes me feel better.)

Players will be able to access their bank boxes while on their boats

Boats left unattended for two hours will sink.

If the character does have a boat they will not be able to place one, and will receive a message stating this.

Oh, and of course, all the cool features are unavailable to reds. Go figure.