December 1999

SITTING IN MY IVORY TOWER, WAITING FOR THE WORMS TO LEAVE [Author: lum]

God, kTalk is SUCH an enlightening place lately. In between the various posts on what a lame fuck I am for having other people post their opinions (which is supposed in some twisted way to convince me to post more?) we get notes such as this:

: This website has run amuck with you nazi roleplayers and your god damn opinions on pvp, something you don’t even participate in. Stick to staying in your towers with some gay guy with a female character emoting sex acts to each other.

Emote THIS, motherfucker. With such idiots running amuck (this was probably the calmest of the many postings) why the hell would anyone care what the hell your opinion is?

First off, no one fucking ASKED you about precasting. It’s a fucking BUG. I am so sorry if you built your entire gimp 7x GM Tank Mage around it. DEAL.

Second off, when the Lead Fucking Programmer of Origin (I think that’s his job title) gets on the horn and asks “Hey, did I fix skills or not?” this is NOT your cue to say “Fix precasting you punk ass bitch!”. Because even if somehow Origin would be convinced NOT to fix that bug (which they’re not) somehow I doubt people acting like lame-ass suburban imitations of DMX, only with a high-pitched nasally voice and no balls, would convince him to look sideways, much less actually do what you ask.

I think you idiots seriously are starting to have reality issues here. Just because you run around UO emoting “ass rap3d y0u! B00yah!” does not mean that this sort of behavior works in real life.

God, with the intellect being shown off lately maybe we should just chalk up all ORPGs as failed experiments until the gaming public makes it to puberty.

VOX POPULI ON THE DEV BOARD [Author: lietgardis]

Hello. My name is Lietgardis and I’m one of those “lonely people that post on message boards late at night,” to fit into my fellow Great Bob’s categories of Lummites.

The children of the Ultima Online community sadden me. They really do. A day of reading and reloading the CoB Dev Board is enough to make anybody fear for the future role of player input in online gaming …

Our good compatriot at Origin, Runesabre, was kind enough to post a message asking for feedback on the Test Center skill advancement changes. At the time I write, the direct replies include eight insults (including one that eloquently states “suck it” in the topic line), five off-topic posts (“GIVE US PRECASTING DAMMIT!”), and three helpful responses. Two of the helpful responses were written by the same individual. The helpful responses didn’t really include any in-depth information on what Runesabre was asking for, but the intentions were good.

What do you think this ratio of helpful/not helpful means? Players complain that Origin doesn’t ask the community for input. Origin does, and they’re told to “suck it” in reply. I’d give up.

In other news, yet another Open House [Author: arcadian del sol]

Yes I’m an updater. Please don’t let my non-Lum status distract you. I am currently 2 semesters into the pursuit of my Associate of Lum degree, for which I’m required by curriculum to serve as an intern. Forward all complaints to The Office of Dean Lum.

As for the topic at hand:
Last night, we were blessed with yet another Open House. For those of you who don’t know, Open House is where we can find answers to some of the most asinine questions to ever percolate from a human brain. Why don’t we use the potty in UO? Why, indeed!
What follows is a summary of last night’s event, including my own little opinions thrust about in machine-gun form.

Q: The 6 month plan is awesome, but can you do fifty thousand other things for us that aren’t on the list, while still getting the list completed in 6 months?
SunSword: In a word: no. To further explain: no.

It would appear that the East Coast connectivity problems are not on the 6 month plan. Atlantic and Chessy should be stable sometime around Easter, one would hope.

Q: Do you plan to take out minor rules in the house placement requirements that are silly, such as grasses blocking placement?
SunSword: We are examining how silly we are at the moment. If we change it, we’ll let you know.

Meanwhile, you will still find yourself unable to push beyond a starling without full stamina.

Q: Will the new PVP/non-PVP zones affect the existing Reputation system?
SunSword: Um, we don’t have a goddam clue. We will eventually let you know as soon as we know ourselves.

SunSword didn’t really say ‘goddam’. SunSword also didn’t really answer the question.

Q: Will you fix monsters so they walk around rocks?
tOAD: yes
SunSword: I can’t answer that

Q: Will new lands be on the map, or a new map like T2A?
SunSword: I can’t answer that.

I believe at this point, SunSword is a channel bot. I can’t confirm that and when questioned later, his answer was “I can’t answer that”

That being just a taste of the session, I have to question the need to stage a “press conference” covering topics you either have no answers for, or cannot divulge the answers you have. If you hold an Open House about the vaunted “Six Month Plan”; perhaps the dev members present should be prepared to answer questions about that particular topic. If they are not able to do so, perhaps another topic is in order. Something like, “Things we won’t even think about until Spring 2000.” Personally, I’m still curious why I can’t run past a starling when a titan and 3 murderers are on my heels.

The answers my friends, are blowing in the wind.
They certainly aren’t here.

BUGGIN’ [Author: wirehead]

On Day Two of the Downfall of Lum the Mad (mark your calendars), we saw a snippy little exchange by the developers of AC and EQ on bug smashing. In his now-Y2K-compliant web page, Chris L’Etoile talked a bit about how Turbine would deal with exploiters:

Let’s be realistic here; if there’s a dupe bug, it’s our own damn fault that it exists. If you report it to us and we ban you, that will only lead to fear and resentment of us. If someone is banned for being honest, you probably won’t tell us about the next exploit you find. Why the hell should you, if we’re just going to put a cap in your ass?

Most of you are reading this and going, “Gosh, what refreshing honesty. I’m going to go out and buy 12 copies of Asheron’s Call RIGHT NOW.”

Sorry, that’s bullshit. I don’t know of ANY ORPG that bans people for reporting bugs. EQ, UO, hell, even Meridian 59 doesn’t ban you for reporting bugs. They ban you for exploiting bugs. (Which is what the Mercs, AC’s gift to the PvP community, have been rumored of doing on an industrial-sized basis.)

It’s an important distinction. One Turbine apparently decided not to make.

I’m not saying that the Mercs didn’t abuse the dupe bug before they reported it to us. We simply don’t know, and at this point it’s water under the bridge. From a detached, practical, Machiavellian perspective, it only makes sense that someone would exploit a loophole as much as they felt they safely could, then make sure it’s closed behind them.

Well how touching. I mean, they’re just misunderstood, right? Anyone would exploit as much as they could given the opportunity. They shouldn’t be punished… I mean, they did have the decency to tell Turbine about the dupe they found after they had gotten their use out of it so that no one else could!

When you lie down with dogs, expect other people to point at you and call you “dogfucker”. There is no such thing as an honorable exploiter. These are the people trying to destroy your game. You don’t reward them with publicity, you kick them the hell out of your game.

Brad McQuaid of Verant had the following to say about the subject on Usenet:

We do NOT ban people for reporting bugs, we ban people for exploiting them. We deeply appreciate players who report bugs, especially nasty ones like dupe bugs.

[Chris posted on his page that another ORPG developer emailed him with advice on how to deal with exploiters, namely booting them the hell out. Brad verifies that it was someone from Verant.]

I didn’t send the email, another person at Verant did. But in any case, it’s pretty typical for people in the games industry to communicate, hang out at trade shows, call each other, etc. My understanding of the email that was sent is that it was meant as advice in terms of how to handle exploits. Competitors in this industry are typically not so cutthroat that we don’t offer each other advice on matters.

I’ve met many of the AC and UO team members and they’re all great guys regardless of whether or not we agree philosophically in terms of game design. In fact, we typically have much more in common than not in common — the passion and dedication to making great MMORPGs and furthering this emerging genre is shared across the board.

Yeah, everyone in this business loves each other. Hell, even us dorky little rant sites email each other all the time with little notes saying “what the fuck are you doing? Updaters? Are you bonkers?”.

Still, we couldn’t finish out a Stormwaltz update without a gratuitous slam at the retarded uncle in the attic no one talks about:

When developers and players treat each other with a policy of honesty and fairness, everyone’s life is better. Our relationship with you should never be adversarial. Once we start down that dark path, forever will it dominate our destiny, as it did Lord British’s apprentices.

My friend, you could learn a hell of a lot about dealing with exploiters from those apprentices. Zero tolerance, it’s not just two words, it’s a necessary way of life.

THE NAME’S LUM. MS. JACKSON IF YOU’RE NASTY. [Author: lum]

As you may have noticed, I’ve hired some new writers for the site in my vain and futile attempt to keep you pinheads amused and in an alpha state, clicking on banners without really knowing it. Of course, this didn’t go over well, because, as we all know, you are stupid.

I could just stop here and watch Victoria’s Secret TV ads, slackjawed. But no, for some reason I can’t really understand, I feel the need to explain myself. (Not to you, though. It’s a more free-floating need.)

I HAVE A LIFE. I know it’s hard to believe, but I really can’t play three online games to a state of Zen perfection, monitor every single web-based bulletin board that mentions EQ, UO, AC, SB, HJ, AO, and/or Canada, monitor the response time of emergency units within a hundred-mile basis, explore the limits of the female orgasm, record pithy notes meant for the eyes of our secret masters that rule over us all (I speak, of course, of Puff Daddy) and STILL write for this site. Something has to give. And it ain’t gonna be Puff Daddy, cos he’s MEAN.

SIZE DOES MATTER Just ask the Russians. In World War Two they found that, being the largest country in the world, they were able to retreat further and further into the hinterlands, throwing the best and brightest of their generation into the fray like cardboard, until, at the very end, Tom Hanks and Matt Damon arrived to save the day. The message is clear – if we post enough updates, Oscar-award winning actors will save us. You don’t seriously expect me to give up on that promise. It wouldn’t be fair to the children.

I AM NOT DR. TWISTER I feel this is a somewhat obvious point. For one thing, Dr. Twister never felt the need to use the word “fuck” in an update. And I have solemn promises from all the writers (NOTE – do NOT call them updaters) that they will curse like a sailor cut off from his grog ration. That alone sets them apart from the TwisTies. That, and the fact that if any of them close out an update with the words “Peace Out”, I will not only pull their access, I will send Pam Grier to dispose of them. Because I have to be hard, but fair.

IT’S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD Despite what some desperate, histrionic sites would have you believe, my every word is not blessed by Divine providence, fit for study, guidance, and emblazoning into huge glyphs atop Mount McKinley. In fact it is occasionally beneficial to read the opinions of those other than myself. I realize this is not an easy concept for many of you to face, but if you ever expect to take those first loping steps out of your parents’ basement and approach an actual living member of the opposite gender without causing constant and uncontrolled screaming by either of you, this is a leap of faith that you must, you will take.

So give them a chance. Let the new writers soothe you with cooling balms and potions, while fanning you with their command of the language and their cunning knowledge of Jeet Kune Do. Because, as the Reagan Administration taught us, ketchup is in fact a vegetable.

Thank you, and good evening.

I’ll jump on this stuff I guess [Author: myschyf]

The Update Center received a few additions today — or yesterday. Well anyway they are new.

Advancement in “non-difficulty” based skills at higher levels and advancement in stats will be improved. The effect of this change will result in fewer required uses of the skill to advance it at high levels and better, more evenly curved stat gains.

The following skills will be affected by the modification to skill advancement:

Anatomy
Animal Lore
Item Identification
Arms Lore
Begging
Evaluate Intelligence
Spirit Speak
Hiding
Tracking
Camping
Cooking
Musicianship
Lockpicking
Mining
Lumberjacking
Peacemaking
Provocation
Enticement
Cartography
Fishing

Stat advancement will now raise at a more constant, consistent rate. All skills will raise their appropriate stats (including combat skills) and you will be able to gain stats consistently regardless of the level of the skill, rather than only when reaching a high level in that skill.

Each skill will raise its appropriate stats. For skills that raise multiple stats, some stats are weighted more heavily than others. Therefore, stat gains from skills such as these will be based on how much weight is given to the individual stats. For instance, Anatomy will raise INT more often, though it still has a chance to raise STR and DEX.

Well isn’t this special? We’ve only been begging for this for 2.5 years. Its nice to see it, I just wish we had not had to wait so long for it. I guess its better than never.

In further news from The Update Center dexterity and healing, a match made in heaven if ever there was one, tied the proverbial OSI knot.

In an effort to balance the Healing skill with other methods of healing damage (such as healing potions and the greater heal spell), dexterity will affect the delay for healing and the penalty for finger slips while healing.

The higher a character’s dexterity, the less time it will take to complete a heal. The amount of healing a character loses due to a finger slip will be reduced with a higher dexterity.

Now if potions would only reflect the degree of skill of the alchemist has we might have balanced healing methods.

These changes are true for healing both yourself and other players. Back

Lum goes insane [Author: great bob]

“And on the fourth day God saw that Dr. Twister was alone, so God said to Dr. Twister “I shall send to thee helpers to write for your site. Insane and stupid they shall come forth and spread thy message across the land” and so God created the twisties, and saw that it was good. On the fifth day God created the lummies”

The internet community today was stunned with the news that Lum the Mad would be adding a staff of writers to update his site. Said a mid level manager at Lum Enterprises, “At Lum’s, we are allways concerned with quality control issues. We decided we just had too much quality on this site. Hopefully, this move will resolve that issue.”

The bold move will allow Lum to change his focus from rants and news to numerous posts by lummies saying “my mailbox is empty, send me r33t cynical quotes!”. The lummies will be created from a diverse group including fustrated inernet cartoonists, the criminally insane, and sad lonley people who post to his message board late at night. The Great Bob, one of the lummies, when asked about his role on this site was quoted as saying “Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!” before wandering off to drink heavily.

And Jesus wept.

HEY KIDS! LET’S TELL THE USERS WHAT WE’RE DOING! COME ON, IT’LL BE FUN! [Author: lum]

Gordon “Abashi” Wrinn recently announced that, starting today, he’ll be writing the EQ Patch messages. Here’s today’s from the Test Server. I must say it’s a damn site better than “Necromancer Feign Death spell enhanced” like we would see previously…

January 5th, 8:30pm
——————-

Well, we have finally completed the hardware maintenance on the Test Server – which took quite a bit longer than we expected. Due to this hardware failure, some characters were restored from backup therefore a few hours of gameplay may be lost for them. We apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused.

The following changes have been introduced to the Test Server.

– Druid’s Tracking skill base has been increased.

– The behavior of the Necromancer’s Feign Death spell has been modified on the Test Server. Here’s a description of the reasons behind this change:

Problem:
Feign death allows you to become an invalid target in all circumstances, providing offensive tactics that are abusive. For this ability to remain balanced, the pet should follow the same rules as invisibility. Offensive tactics used by other classes involve the creature getting a saving throw verses the effect. Since creatures do NOT get a direct save verses feign death (as you cast it on yourself), and since you can retry the combat once you have feigned death, there is very little risk to necromancer himself. As this tactic involves charming an NPC and turning it against another NPC, which could be part of the same spawn, it allows for Necromancers to solo MUCH bigger rooms than any other class could. This situation is well beyond what would preserve game balance for any other class (soloing the Bloodthirsty Ghoul room and Ghoul Lord room, for example).

Example:
While there are many examples of how the Necromancer Feign Death tactic is abusive, one of the most egregious occurs in the Ghoul Lord room of Lower Guk. The room consists of 2 Bok Ghoul Guards and the Ghoul Lord himself. Using the current system, a level 50 Necro can easily solo the room at virtually no risk to himself. The Necro can get into the room quite easily with Invis To Undead. To clear the room he uses Screaming Terror on one Bok and Charms the other. When the Ghoul Lord rushes him, he feigns. The Lord then turns on the charmed Bok and kills it, taking considerable damage during the fight. The Necromancer waits until the Ghoul Lord returns to its spawn point. When the necromancer gets back up, he is in no danger of being attacked due to the way Feign Death works now. He then charms the 2nd Bok and Feigns again. The fight goes on and the 2nd Bok is killed. When the Necromancer gets back up he has a VERY wounded Ghoul Lord AND nearly full mana. The Lord is now an easy kill, and the necro collects his special items.

Solution:
Ideally, Feign Death should work like Invisibility, where summoned pets suicide and the charmed ones break Charm. We do not want, however, to adversely affect lower level Necromancers to such a large degree. What we do recognize is the need to prevent higher level Necros from exploiting key spawn points. Hence, when you Feign Death, any charmed NPC will immediately break Charm. However, summoned NPCs (pets) will NOT be affected. While this still allows the use of the Feign Death tactic with your summoned pet, it does not imbalance the game and many dungeon spawns to the degree that charming an NPC does.

We would appreciate diligent testing of this change, to insure that no unforeseen problems have been caused by it.

-The EverQuest Team

IN EQ I’M A 19TH LEVEL HOTTIE [Author: wirehead]

Topic today is sex. There, figured that’d get your attention.

Check out this story from EQ:

I have a good friend who speaks to me often about the amount of attention she receives with her wood elf druid(s). On one server, a GM (!!!)(and yes, she actually checked for his name on the roster) actually approached her (he at level 50, her at 1) and started to hit on her when she said hi while walking by. They talked for a bit, and before she knew it he was 1) handing over a crap load of stuff and 2) asking her to marry him when she reached level 20. This was after her char had been alive 30-45 minutes, all but 5 of which had been spent talking to this GM. Now I will readily admit she is a wonderful person, and great fun to talk to, but isn’t that a tad early in their “relationship” for engagement?

We’ve talked about GMs cavorting with female players before, but this is a bit much — at least UO GMs try to, you know, actually confirm the person is female in real life first.

EQ is pretty bad about this, though. As a side effect of the generally good graphics, the female characters all suffer from Lara Croft Syndrome. As an object example, take the Half Elf Butt. No matter HOW much armor you throw on a half elven woman, she is suffering from some serious wedgie action. There’s a reason the Nybright Sisters all want to kill you. They HURT. And let’s not discuss wood elves. Especially the ones in leather.

This has an effect. Take this tale of how to win friends and influence people:

This one happened to one of my guild members. She is a rogue and she was playing in Cazic-Thule for a while. Then all of the sudden, she got a tell from one of the guy who was in her CT group offer her a Raven bp [Ravenscale breastplate, rare Rogue-specific magic armor]. Well, it seems wonderful enough. I admited I am so jealous. But later on, I found out something about this raven bp deal. He asked her in order to get the bp, she has to phone sex with him. What a fricken loser. GRRRR. I don’t see why people think Raven is god armor or something. Come on, we already have enough of KS’ers and eBay. Now, PHONE SEX? Mother of God, I want to screw this guy really badddd. AHHHHH. If I can get his name from her, I swear that I would do badddddd things to him. ARHHHHHHHH.

So we’ve established two (well maybe three) things:

(1) Men are scum. (you very rarely see women withholding rare loot for phone sex)
(2) Everquest’s designers were men.
(3) Given (2), see (1).

Of course, there’s the whole men playing female characters thing. I used to think that men did this solely to get free loot from people until I saw this note:

…considering that 70% of the “women” you see are horny young men or dirty old men who toggle their view so they can stare at their wood elf character’s ass…

Well, THAT made me feel creepy in a totally unique way.

And to close, let’s hear from someone who really doesn’t have a problem with any of this…

Hey, but don’t get me wrong I enjoy a nice bout of flirting every once in a while as long as its within it’s bounds. Ladies don’t deprive yourself of having a good time because of some silly horny 15 yr old! Lastly, if the dumb guys wanna give away their stuff, by all means, LET EM’! I say roleplay the HELL out of them… men on the server so much like in RL like getting used sometimes (not speaking for everyone) so take advantage of it!
Ps.. Verant I dont appreciate the silly skimpy outfits the ladies start off with as compared to the males!!! Where are the guys G strings????I say we need EQuality!!