March 2001

FIND SHADOWBANE A NEW PUBLISHER, WIN A BETA ACCOUNT! [Author: Lum the Mad]

We called Babbage’s customer service department and found out that Shadowbane was “de-listed” from their catalogue at the request of Take Two, which (at the moment) is (still) (officially) Shadowbane’s publisher. When asked if that meant the game was delayed past its projected release date, we were told no, it meant “take it off our catalogue and accept no more orders for it.” When asked if that meant all the rumors swirling around of friction between Wolfpack and Godgames/Take Two were true, they said that they were just customer service people and they didn’t know and please make the hurting stop.

So we called Todd “Warden” Coleman, Shadowbane’s producer and marketing czar. Hey, maybe he’d, you know, tell us what was going on. I know, radical concept. His response was to restate his previous statement on the matter, which was a statement that any change in their publishing status would be followed by a statement, which his previous statement previously referenced.

Don’t speak PR? Let me quote:

It’s not our policy to comment on rumors… if there are any changes in the status of our current publishing deals, we’ll let you know.

So in the absence of any more actual, you know, information, let’s speculate. (I’ve been told we’re good at that.)

It’s no secret that something is going on between Take 2/Godgames and Wolfpack. What that something is is anyone’s guess – it depends on who you’re talking to, what agenda they’re pushing, and probably the phase of the moon factors in somewhere as well. However, generally if relations between publisher and developer (or, in another equally successful profession, “pimp” and “ho”) are good, you don’t see everyone leaking off the record trying to spin how good – or, especially, how not good – they are. There’s trouble in Aerynth. At some point, my guess is, we’ll see a nice polished press release that tells you as much as the one above, with the exception that some time ago there was a parting of the ways and everyone still loves each other and there’s joint custody of the cat.

So. Assume the worse and we wake up tomorrow and find out that someone has to figure out where the cat lives. What does that mean for people who’d actually like to play Shadowbane at some point (and by any measure, there’s quite a few of those)?

Item: Wolfpack already has a very active and involved publishing partner in Swing Entert@inment AG, their European partner and distributor. Not only does Swing take an active interest in Shadowbane’s development, as opposed to Godgames which limits its involvement to printing Shadowbane screenshots in tiny little windows on cheesecake girly calendars, they also are deeply involved in the current beta process – not only are many of the testers German, Swing even owns Wolfpack’s beta server.

Is Swing ready to step up to the plate and assume the massive operating costs and support nightmares a PvP MMOG will pose? I’d imagine they think so. Whether or not they are, who knows. Can’t do much worse than all the others at this point.

Item: If Take Two and Wolfpack parts company and for whatever reason Swing remains a European partner only, there’s suddenly a MMOG out for bidding that’s got over 3 years of development time already invested. Quite a few publishers without an entry in the MMO market may find the lure of jumping to market years sooner irresistable.

Item: Shadowbane’s fan base is the only group of players that makes Horizon’s folks seem positively sedate. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that if Wolfpack announced that they’d need help with bringing the game to market, much as Artifact Entertainment did, someone would volunteer time, resources, money, or all of the above. Hell, all you’d have to do for a lot of these guys is offer them a beta slot and they are SO there.

Item: Before the Godgames publishing deal, which was announced only a year ago, Wolfpack was self-financed. Could they continue to do so? While they certainly wouldn’t want to, one suspects they wouldn’t want to lose their previous investment either, especially this close to the finish line. While providing the network infrastructure and customer support is probably out of reach in such a scenario, keeping development going while leisurely shopping for a new “white knight” is certainly a possibility.

All of this is of course conjecture and of course our discussion link will immediately be swamped by persons defending the honor of Shadowbane that claim we are only out to destroy the innocent dreams and hopes of PvPers everywhere.

What isn’t conjecture? Well, try to pre-order Shadowbane at ebworld.

FFFFFPPPPPPPPTTTTHHHHH YOU DROP DOT.BOMB ON ME! [Author: Lum the Mad]

Yeah, eFront’s still sending out bitchy fake-legal letters (and hey, why don’t we ever get any? Our forums are whiny, foul-mouthed and probably legally actionable too!) but it’s just kind of washing away in the roar of the economy going fwoomf. Hey kids, it’s a recession! You young pups don’t remember what that was like, I bet. Start your learning process by selling apples on streetcorners. Everywhere people are just idly packing their desks, wondering where the carnage will hit next.

Speaking of carnage and layoffs and such, next up on the fake news sites (you know, the only place where actual news gets reported these days) are rumors of big layoffs at EA.com. For those of you not keeping your scorecards up to date at home, that entity includes the Company Formerly Known As OSI. Fuckedcompany.com is reporting 200 employees to go next week, Fatbabies is going with 150, along with an astoundingly unbelievable figure of a $45 million MONTHLY burn rate. Of course, logic reminds us that axing everyone at OSI should make up about maybe $.003 million of that. But, you know, it’s either that or the cappucino maker.

One place you’ll never see layoffs at is Lumcorp, because we’re already laid off, laid back, and… well, the rest of the metaphor just brings back painful memories. So instead, commiserate with other unpaid webzine scribes in a thoughtful piece on the state of the net here.

IT’S ANARCHY, I TELL YOU! [Author: Lum the Mad]

Lots of news on Anarchy Online lately, here’s some summarizing for those of you not interested in eFront raping sCary’s taxes or something.

Gibme.com, which is apparently a Norwegian online gaming mag, cornered Tommy Strand, AO’s lead designer, and got him to fess up to tons of stuff. The target date for release currently is this summer (in Norway at any rate) and a P2-450 is the recommended spec, which will make AO the most demanding MMOG out in terms of hardware horsepower. (On the plus side, he promises it will run on your modem dialup just fine.)

Personally, I belong to the group of “hardcore gamers” who notice the big demand today for something new after EverQuest and Asheron’s Call. We believe that Anarchy Online will be the next MMORPG which a lot of “hardcore gamers” will enjoy. We already have established a fair share in the MMORPG community worldwide, and we believe that our science fiction world will be a welcome change for players who are tired of “orcs and elves”. But, we do hope even more people will discover how fun it is playing with others in a huge virtual world. We have tried to make Anarchy Online a fantastic gaming experience not only for new players, but also for the well established players of online games. It is a unique way of meeting people on the internet, and a lot more exciting than chatting! πŸ™‚

Stratics also held an AO HoC with more infobits dribbling out; here’s one on the PvP side of things.

A9-Lokist: question for the devs: how will the war between omni tek and the clans be represented? will there be large scale PVP battles? will either side be able to capture territory?

Tommy: We will be releasing story sequences during the live period of 4 years. During this time players will be participating in events that lead up to story events. Some of these events can be as you suggested large scale PVP battles. The sides can not automatically capture territories dynamically .. only through a story event.

And again, from the AOHoC, Tommy on AO’s release date. In other words, don’t expect to get AO from EBWorld in March like they’re promising:

The original date was 1st quarter and the pre-order sites have calculated late march to be the release date. We are no longer aiming for 1st quarter (since that ends in about 20 days .. hehe) The beta is going fairly smooth and with the coming stress test we’ll know the exact date. There is very little NEW functionality beeing added from this point. We have one patch in the pipeline now with a large new set of features including the organizations and the next non bugfix patch is most likely the last patch to include new functionality before live To the question where we will release first .. the answer is both Europe and Us.

And probably of least importance, as you can see from the probably not terribly exclusive screenshot over there in the corner, Lumcorp now has a presence in Rubi-ka. Expect a full preview of Anarchy Online as soon as we finish poking and prodding.

WITHIN MEANS [Author: Lum the Mad]

UGO dead? Good. Took long enough. Blue’s not getting paid and Evil Avatar’s asking for handouts? Well, what did you expect to happen? eFront’s run by evil bastards? No shit? Sucks to be Lowtax. Those logs are really funny, though.

Michael Wolff told the WashPost that he thinks the Internet’s dead? Should this surprise anyone, considering this is the guy who blew gobs of his own money on dotcoms, then wrote a book about how he wasn’t making any money, and has been whinging ever since in his NY Magazine column? What else is this guy gonna say but “stay away, Internet BAD”?

I can sort of sympathize with the people who have been expecting the
Internet to bear fruit all this time, but let’s recall: None of us knew exactly how that was going to happen. Maybe it’s because I write for a newspaper, and am used to the idea that my job isn’t the main reason the company I work for makes money — it’s because the perky people in nice dress suits and ties in the Advertising Department are selling space in the same rag people pick up to read my articles. Other businesses that sell goods and services will pay good money for some of that space.

I will always remember the girl who came in during off-hours and asked to buy last Sunday’s newspaper. I took her money and handed her a back issue, one with several articles of mine on page one. She took out the coupons, then handed the rest back to me. She smiled at me, and I envisioned beating her over the head with the paper.

I got over it. Unfortunately for the Internet, there isn’t such a
relationship between consumer and provider. Even though more people are getting on the ‘net all the time, most of us expect stuff for free. The print industry has a remedy for that — fill the product up with ads. Village Voice has one of the highest subscription rates in the world. New Times owns several free weeklies (though I’m not thrilled with what happened to the Kansas City PitchWeekly since they sold out. Separate issue.)

I’ve long suspected that the Web had the potential to produce sites with alt-weekly-style status. The content is there, the interest is there. But the ads are not, and therefore the business is not.

Granted, I don’t usually like the ad department where I work. I sometimes have to write stories that are placed in sections designed solely to sell ads. It sucks, but I get enough good stories otherwise, and every second Wednesday I get a check, so I get over it.

What’s on the check? Not a fat lot. That’s another thing I’m used to. I’ve never thought real big before I thought small. The people I work for don’t think real big, either.

Contrast that to the Web, where a fat lot of interesting sites are run by puffed-up charlatans or wanna-be
tycoons,
that are suddenly realizing the consequences of what they had to have known in their hearts all along — they were sitting on a giant balloon, and it was gonna go pop sometime. But which one of them was truly interested in creating and nuturing a product or service or jobs before making scads of money?

Go ahead, tell me which one.

But moving along, I wasn’t too thrilled after C|Net decided to shut the Gamecenter Alliance down. XRGaming had only paid me once for running one of their sites, and I was deciding I kind of liked the idea of getting paid for doing Web stuff. Not a lot — remember, I don’t make all that much now. But like my day job, I’ve had to do certain things on that site that I don’t necessarily like doing. I just did it because it needed to be done.

I wasn’t thrilled by one of the first serious prospects Marduk, God bless him, said he was considering — this unknown, unproven wanna-be game publisher called WarCry. They wanted to buy XRG up; I said I’d quit first. Like Virgil reminded me recently, it wasn’t the first time I’d threatened to quit.

Once again, I got over it. I’m encouraged by the sales guy they’ve got on board. This might work, it might not. Any amount of griping won’t remedy the fact that this network requires a fat annual budget to run, and a good chunk of lifetime from the people running it. Like before, I’m concerned about how this is going to work, but if it works at all, I might be able to live with it. At least the people in charge aren’t too full of themselves to talk to me.

The other day, I found an interview the other day with Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins, two roommates from Spokane who thought they could do a comic strip together. They gave up their day jobs, and “were under the impression that we would be making money in relatively short order,” Holkins told the local mini-weekly, The Pacific Northwest Inlander.

Of course, Penny Arcade fans
already know Mike and Jerry, better as “Gabe” and “Tycho.” This article was apparently written before they decided to become totally sufficient on fan donations and direct sales, but they both said in the interview that even after two years, the idea that they should be getting paid was still somewhat alien to them.

“Yeah, the concept that it might not be enough is even more alien,” Krahulik said. “It’s like, well, this is all I have to do. What more do you want? I quit my job selling computers, and I draw cartoons all day. And then peopleask, ‘Well, are you being paid enough?’ I quit my job selling computers, and I draw cartoons all day.”

I’ve got a bachelor’s degree in print journalism and over two years’ experience in news reporting. My job bores me. Will write for food.

HOW TO DESTROY YOUR BUSINESS THROUGH THE MAGICAL WORLD OF FILE SHARING [Author: Lum the Mad]

Brief timeline:

Thursday: Someone posts links of about 15 MB of Sam Jain’s ICQ conversations with his employees to an anonymous Angelfire site. Sam Jain is the CEO of eFront, a “new media” company that hosts websites and sells ad banner space on them, such as Something Awful and Betanews. It’s revealed later that apparently Mr. Jain had his hard drive shared over his cablemodem without any security and someone took the opportunity to download his ICQ logs. These logs are fairly damning in their portrayal of eFront’s business practices.

In what’s probably the first public “outing” of these logs, someone posts the Angefire URL on Something Awful’s forums along with a complaint that Lowtax, the webmaster of SA who posts often about his hosting woes, is in fact an eFront employee.

I don’t have a problem with selling out, but this just reeks. All respect is lost. How could you work for efront after knowing how they rip off webmasters?

Lowtax immediately responded:

Because instead of sitting on my ass, whining and complaining and bitching about eFront, I decided to take a job with them and TRY TO FIX THINGS. I’m sure you wouldn’t understand this, but I accepted their job offer so I could actually try and fix what’s fucked up in their company. Maybe you’re happy with webmasters not being paid and that crap, but I wanted to at least attempt to change the situation. They gave me the chance and I said okay. Sorry I can’t be as productive as you, MAGIC VOICE, and limit myself to bitching on other peoples’ forums, but I’m actually trying to rectify the situation and speak for the webmasters on the eFront Network.

Please point out SOMEWHERE where I have lied, mislead, or deceived anybody. That’s my challenge to you, Magic Voice. Back up your accusations here instead of simply trolling.

OH I AM SUCH A BAD MAN

Later that day, I post a link to and summary of the ICQ logs thanks to an anonymous tip.

Friday:

Links are posted to the eFront logs on fuckedcompany.com and planetcrap.com.

Saturday:

Slashdot picks up the eFront story.

In short, eFront was a company which bought out successful websites and turned them into cash cows by maximizing profit through different ways of banner and other advertising. Not a bad idea, except that their methods aren’t exactly pretty ones. A disgruntled employee obtained some crucial ICQ logs (mirror), which show the true spirit behind eFront. It includes cheating on banner companies, cheating on top100 sites, talking about raping a female webmaster because she doesn’t agree on some points, tax evasion, delaying payment to webmasters, literally harrassing sites out of existance and all kinds of other nasty stuff.

eFront begins sending out cease-and-desist letters (signed “Legal Department, eFront”) to various sites hosting the logs and/or linking to them (but, interestingly enough, sent none to us, not that we’d comply).

Sunday:

According to rumor on Slashdot, stories on eFront’s collapse are set to hit the wire services Monday.

Most logs have been pulled from the net thanks to intimidation by eFront. Here is a page with the complete archived logs, pictures of Mr. Jain from a webmasters’ visit to eFront, and Mr. Jain’s prior charge (apparently not a conviction) for fraud. Here’s instructions on how to pull the logs from Freenet’s anonymous archive.

Attempts to reach Mr. Jain were unsuccessful.

A MAGIC UPDATE [8:10:5:4] [Author: Arcadian Del Sol]

Magic Weapons and Armor Identification Mar 9 2001 11:53AM CST

Magic weapons and armor will display descriptions in brackets once the item is identified, instead of the current numerical values. For example, if you identified an indestructible surpassingly accurate broadsword of force, the system would display it as:

magic broadsword

[indestructible / force / surpassingly accurate]

Before the weapon is identified, the descriptions will be replaced with the word \’e2\’80\’9cunidentified\’e2\’80\’9d

magic broadsword

[unidentified]

The identification information will appear under the weapon/armor name when the item is single clicked. More information and exact details on this system will be released in the near future

There is a thread available for your perusal at uo.com. Click here to check it out, but remember – here at Lum The Mad, Rantings Of, cursewords are your friends.

HEADLINE: ORIGIN SYSTEMS IS JUST ANOTHER CORPORATION [Author: Arcadian Del Sol]

Corporations exist for one purpose. They don’t exist because they want to be your friend, and they don’t exist because they really enjoy seeing people happy using their products. Corporations exist to make money. They don’t care if you like their product or if it accidentally breaks your legs – they just want your cash.

To some extent, the computer entertainment industry is an artistic one. The designers and developers are all players in an epic theatrical production, and part of the reason they have chosen this field is the desire to create something that other people enjoy. As a writer, I can understand it. There is something inside that compels the creative instinct, and it is not a pleasant feeling. It is a deep burning, hunger that gnaws at your spirit and refuses to be fed. It will keep you up at night and it will possess you every waking moment until you reach your wit’s end and wrestle it to the ground and force it to submit, and whisper in it’s ear, “Please for the love of God, tell me what you want.” What it wants is validation – and so we write, we produce, and we create; and we hope that at least one person sits up and takes notice. Money isn’t important, and fame isn’t even a consideration. The reward comes in other forms. For years now, this is the picture we have been given of Origin Systems Incorporated, and I for one believed it. In case you didn’t know it already, you do now: I am a complete idiot.

Ultima Online has been a tremendous success. So great in fact, that it has changed the industry. But all the while, the picture was that of a collective creative force of artisans who were happy to make a profit, but happier to make a product that people enjoyed. The reality is that much like any other company, for Origin Systems, it is not good enough to make money and it is not good enough to make good money. For Origin Systems, it is about making LOTS of money. Recently, they discovered that non-English speaking cultures don’t really play Ultima Online that much. It does well enough to support many shards overseas, but it has only begun to scratch the surface. The barrier was one that sounds rather simple to correct, but has proven to be one of the most devastating changes to ever happen to the game. In Asian Markets, Ultima Online makes money, but it could make more if players didn’t have to speak English in order to play. If somehow Origin could extract English from Ultima Online, think of how much MAD PROFIT it could RAKE IN for OSI. So Maker’s Marks were being altered, and the ability to speak with NPCs in complete sentences was removed entirely. No big deal so far, really. But OSI did not stop there. The next change came with the removal of the tattered Message in a Bottle system. No longer will you get a tattered water soaked message from a shipwrecked sailor – instead you will get a cold lifeless stone slab with all the fun and excitement of a TOMB STONE. And if that doesn’t rub you the wrong way, imagine logging into Ultima Online and clicking on your “massive helm of hardinging and toughness” and finding “a helm [8:10:5:3]*” instead. Doesn’t that just SCREAM role-playing game at you? Yeah, me either. I work with some of the best software engineers in the world, so I thought I’d ask them about this. I asked them, what would be the difference between a system that used “a helm [8:10:5:3]” and a system that used “a helm: massive, hardening, toughness”. The response was the same every time I posed the question – the difference is minimal. Then I asked a second question: What if you already had the first system in place. How hard would it be to change to the second example? It would take some time, but it could be done fairly easily.

So now I am faced with a difficult choice: Either I have to call every developer at OSI an idiot for not doing something “fairly easy” or I have to hate them for not doing the right thing because it might take them some time (and when it comes to pimping out for maximum profits, “some time” translates into “slightly less cash in my pockets”).

So just to get us all out from beneath our rose colored eyeglasses, OSI is not some travelling minstrel show come to entertain and delight you in exchange for charitable donations. It is a corporation that needs your cash dollars like a crack whore needs another fix. It will gladly amputate any and all atmosphere, immersion, and “flavor” in exchange for more money, more money, more money. I wish OSI success in Korea, Japan, and Liechtenstein. I hope they make so much profit in those markets, that they never even notice the reduction in domestic sales and the increase in veteran accounts on EBay.

“A sword [8:9:4:1]” is not a magic weapon. It is a field in a database. And it is not a change done with the best interests of UO or the players in mind. It is a solution that represents the path of least resistance towards localization – or, the fastest way to increase overseas sales and get those big canvas sacks of cash on the way to Austin Texas as quickly as possible WITH THE MINIMAL EFFORT. Welcome to the corporate world, UO fans. In this world, you are not a person, you are a demographic. And your sword of vanquishing is not magic, it is [8:10:8:5].

And OSI is not above doing something STUPID in order to increase sales.

And now a totally hypothetical question for you message board fans. I asked myself, if it meant being able to have magic items that actually TOLD YOU WHAT THEY DID instead of forcing you to look them up ON A WEBSITE, would I be willing to see veteran rewards go by the wayside? In a heartbeat, yes I would. I would rather have “a sword: massive, accurate, feeblemind[4]” than have a banner in my house or a leather dye tub in my backpack.

I’d be curious exactly how alone I am in that opinion.

*numbers are arbitrary for the sake of example.

THE EFRONT FILES [Author: Lum the Mad]

bryant 14/01/20 5:45 am Sorry back – seems one of the PA guys is

continuiing to shit on us in public – and is

being specific about myself and Jon in the

process. Trying to diffuse that through the

other PA guy, but with no luck.

sam 14/01/20 5:46 am what do you recommend?

bryant 14/01/20 5:49 am I think we need a cease and desist letter from

the lawyers.

sam 14/01/20 5:49 am and shut their site down?

bryant 14/01/20 5:50 am I think that needs to go out as soon as

possible. If he continues, I think we need to

take some action.

sam 14/01/20 5:50 am do you recommend shutting them down

sam 14/01/20 5:50 am to get their attention?

bryant 14/01/20 5:51 am No, I think we fire a warning shot with the

letter. If that doesn’t work I think we come

down hard and furious in every way we can.

bryant 14/01/20 5:51 am If Mike manages to impair our ability to

operate we have legal recourse, but what good

does that do us if we go under because we miss

out on some big deal?

bryant 14/01/20 5:52 am Shutting them down now would just fuel the

fire.

bryant 14/01/20 5:52 am The letter gives him enough rope to either

hang himself, or climb off his soapbox.

sam 14/01/20 5:52 am do you have a sample cease & desist letter

sam 14/01/20 5:52 am i’d like to get it fired off today

sam 14/01/20 5:52 am im looking on my hard drive to see if i have

any

sam 14/01/20 5:52 am we put specific evidence, etc. and quote laws

sam 14/01/20 5:53 am and fire a warning shot..

sam 14/01/20 5:53 am and using his letter he sent us also as

evicence of breach

sam 14/01/20 5:53 am and violating our confidentialty policies

sam 14/01/20 5:53 am as well as defamation

bryant 14/01/20 5:54 am Yeah, we have to do something. It needs to be

Mike ‘Gabe’ Krahulik to, and not Jerry ‘Tycho’

Parkinson. Jerry isn’t being vocal.

sam 14/01/20 5:56 am im seeing if i can find a sample copy of a

generic c&d .. then we put specfics in there..

and fax it to him on efront letterhead

and on the bottom we can do

cc: Melody Dapp Williams,

[full title, esquire, etc.]

that way it makes it seem intimidating that

the lawyer is ccd on it

sam 14/01/20 5:56 am and we can send it to our lawyer as well

sam 14/01/20 5:56 am but it brings more credibiilty

bryant 14/01/20 5:56 am Yeah.

sam 14/01/20 5:56 am and we order eerything to be ceased in 24

hours and retract everything they said

sam 14/01/20 5:56 am and delete their postings

sam 14/01/20 5:56 am or we will take action

sam 14/01/20 5:58 am do you guys wnat to prepare it and ill review

it then you can fax to him?

bryant 14/01/20 5:59 am Yeah, have a template?

sam 14/01/20 5:59 am still searching πŸ™‚

bryant 14/01/20 6:03 am Is Greg writing a letter as well? Or is that

the one Jerry is having me do the first draft

of?

sam 14/01/20 6:04 am oh thats probably you.. not sure who was doing

it

bryant 14/01/20 6:04 am ok cool – just wanted to make sure we weren’t

overlapping.

bryant 14/01/20 6:05 am These people kill me. They’re so short

sighted and immature. I’ve been trying to

talk sense to Tycho but I’m not sure I’m

gettomg anywhere.

bryant 14/01/20 6:10 am So naive.

bryant 14/01/20 6:11 am I might have talked some sense to Tycho. I’m

going to watch the messageboards closely this

weekend to see if Gabe persists. If he does,

we’ll get the C&D out.

sam 14/01/20 6:11 am http://www.creditmania.com/Letters/cease.htm

sam 14/01/20 6:12 am one sample πŸ™‚

sam 14/01/20 6:12 am looking for more

bryant 14/01/20 6:12 am In the meantime, I’ve got a lot of issues that

I want to try and work into the letter to try

and diffuse all of this. I don’t think pissed

of webmasters is the end of the world, but

better to have them on their backs wagging

their tails than snapping at us.

sam 14/01/20 6:12 am yes i agree

bryant 14/01/20 6:13 am Yeah, found some samples too. I might also

call in a favor from some people I know at

Paul Hastings under the premise that his

actions are endangering my livelihood by means

of endangering eF. If they’ll do it it will

be from eF, not from me so should work fine.

I hope they will, they’re some of the best.

bryant 14/01/20 6:15 am Some part of me is still carrying a Corps

mentality. I keep thinking a rifle butt to

some kneecaps would solve all our problems.

Instant collections and quiet webmasters. =)

sam 14/01/20 6:15 am i like that attitude πŸ™‚

sam 14/01/20 6:16 am anyway we can work on SA? imnot sure if

jonathan fwd u my thoughts on that

bryant 14/01/20 6:16 am Not sure either, checking.

sam 14/01/20 6:16 am let me do it

bryant 14/01/20 6:16 am ok.

bryant 14/01/20 6:17 am My current plan with Lowtax is to get him on

the phone next time he’s available and find

out what he needs to get by. Not this $13k

crap – the guy can live on 1/5th of that in

style.

bryant 14/01/20 6:17 am Perhaps if we can assure him that much at the

very least just until things get better then

he’ll be happy.

sam 14/01/20 6:18 am yeah i know.. actually if u want, put him on

our payroll on normal salary

sam 14/01/20 6:18 am or something

sam 14/01/20 6:18 am and if things dont work out, he gets his site

back.. so he’s assured

sam 14/01/20 6:18 am and would reduce the 13k

sam 14/01/20 6:18 am and also

sam 14/01/20 6:18 am we can get him to do real revenue stuff that

ill fwd to you

bryant 14/01/20 6:18 am Yeah – something. Let me work on him, we have

a decent rapport.

bryant 14/01/20 6:19 am His #1 issue is server stability right now –

how soon are we at S4R?

sam 14/01/20 6:19 am and tell him to get his forum msg down in the

meanwhile.. and if we cant work anything out,

then he can rant and rave then πŸ™‚

sam 14/01/20 6:19 am s4r..i ask matt and nate everday.. they said

they’re almost completed

sam 14/01/20 6:19 am w/ data transfer

sam 14/01/20 6:19 am let me ask matt again

sam 14/01/20 6:20 am if we get SA on our side, then PA ranting will

seem like its their fault

sam 14/01/20 6:20 am if he posts good stuff about efront πŸ™‚

sam 14/01/20 6:20 am and they’re a community type of site.. so

bellwether sort of

bryant 14/01/20 6:20 am Yeah, that’s my biggest issue right now.

Everyone seems to think it’s okay to rant

about this issues in open public forums. It’s

not. I mean shit, they can certainly have

grievances and that’s a normal aspect of life,

but these people (kids) need to understand

that when they started taking money, it

stopped being a hobby and became a business.

sam 14/01/20 6:21 am yeah i know

bryant 14/01/20 6:21 am That’s my hurdle right now with the email –

make points like that while narrowing the gap

between us.

bryant 14/01/20 6:22 am Heh, the good news is that at least at the

moment, we have a lot of people coming to us

interested in being acquired. Since 1/1 I’ve

received more direct emails with people asking

to come aboard than in 3 months before.

sam 14/01/20 6:22 am i know..

sam 14/01/20 6:22 am if half of our webmasters leave, we can get

better contradcts with

sam 14/01/20 6:22 am 1 year terms.. and $ based on uniques

bryant 14/01/20 6:23 am lol, no kidding.

sam 14/01/20 6:23 am so i dont mind if ppl leave.. but we need to

do it gracefully

sam 14/01/20 6:23 am like sitepowerup.com i gracefully parted ways

sam 14/01/20 6:23 am (very bad clickthrus)

sam 14/01/20 6:23 am and trying to do the same w/ teenstation (too

many banners per user)

bryant 14/01/20 6:24 am Agree totally. Hey look, we can really

survive if we lose some of the ‘garbage’ sites

that will never be able to run anything but

RON stuff. If we’re already overpaying them –

then no harm no foul if they go.

-=-

roy7 1/13/200 1:08 PM I don’t like the

idea of cutting someone who

has tried

their best for us but we’ve let them

down.

Someone like PA who hate us and wanted

out all

along, yeah, they are gone. But Lowtax

had been

pretty pro-eFront and trying to

support us.

sam 1/13/200 1:08 PM how has lowtax

been pro-efront

sam 1/13/200 1:08 PM i was just

thinking in his best interest

roy7 1/13/200 1:09 PM Well he’s just

been cooperative in our reveune

stuff so far

as I know, and more patient than

most of us

would have been with the forum

problems.

-=-

roy7 1/13/200 1:25 PM Hurmph.

I wonder

what the best way to monetize

something

like SA is. It’s popular (6m+ page

views),

kinda famous (Ars are fans), and has a

very loyal

following. Not sure if it’s

something

you can sell branded advertising

for, like a

“real” humor site.

sam 1/13/200 1:25 PM ya .. u cant sell

advertising on it.. its all

cussing

bitching whining

sam 1/13/200 1:26 PM advertisers wont

like it

sam 1/13/200 1:26 PM however, u can do

srunner type of stuff

sam 1/13/200 1:26 PM like amd

sam 1/13/200 1:26 PM like mad

sam 1/13/200 1:26 PM and xdrive

sam 1/13/200 1:26 PM and everything

sam 1/13/200 1:26 PM because its a

community

sam 1/13/200 1:26 PM but we cant make

money if he doesnt promote

our stuff

sam 1/13/200 1:26 PM on a daily basis

sam 1/13/200 1:27 PM remember taht one

day he had srunner link (he

was whining

about it).. and it got lot of

clicks

sam 1/13/200 1:27 PM but i highly

doubt he’ll do all this for us

roy7 1/13/200 1:27 PM The tune will

change once he’s paid again. πŸ™‚

-=-

bryant 14/01/20 6:26 am ok, cool – got the Lowtax stuff. I think

there’s something that can definitely be done

there. When it comes down to it he’s really

quite reasonable and mature (at least compared

to many of the others). More importantly,

they almost all respect him to a certain

degree so if he’s not anti- then maybe some of

them are less so.

bryant 14/01/20 6:27 am He can help us without transparently being our

puppet I suspect, and should be willing to do

so.

sam 14/01/20 6:27 am yeah just talk to him.. tell him that we think

he can be a good spokesperson for efront to

the webmaster community and we want to

completely prioritize him and make sure he’s

taken care of

-=-

roy7: (5:42 PM) http://www.lumthemad.net

Whoa that’s odd. They claim we are throwing in

the towel and fired most of our staff last

month.

sam: (5:43 PM) thats because of stupid SA

posts

sam: (5:43 PM) he blatantly violated our NDA

sam: (5:43 PM) so i doubt he’s getting paid

next week

sam: (5:44 PM) before some of our other

webmasters

sam: (5:44 PM) who are in more need

sam: (5:44 PM) so he needs to retract what he

said or..

-=-

sam 16/01/20 11:05 am heh.. tim from aah wants to take over doing PA

cartoons:)

sam 16/01/20 11:05 am he said he’ll make fun of lazy,

web-generation, immature whiny kiddies πŸ™‚

sam 16/01/20 11:10 am iBLAMEj00 (ICQ#8906076) Wrote:

I know an artist that would probably love to

do it. =)

[another options.. kick PA guys out and we can

do the comics ourselves]

sam 16/01/20 11:13 am their email basically said they are not going

to cooperate with us.. thereby they are in

breach of the entire contract.. which means we

fire them and have no further obligations to

them

sam 16/01/20 11:32 am if you can work on restrucutirng some of the

agreements, i think that would help alot..

like SA gets 2cpm.. thats obscene and can’t

last ..lot of them like that

sam 16/01/20 11:41 am iBLAMEj00 (ICQ#8906076) Wrote:

Okay, artist is all lined up

bryant 16/01/20 11:50 am Yeah, I can move into restructuring people.

Re: PA, let me have 24 hours to see what I

can do. Presuming I can get them to talk at

all. I don’t have a copy of their email,

would you fwd when you get a chance?

sam 16/01/20 11:51 am Tims’s saying that the first storyline from

the new artist is about PA πŸ™‚

-=-

sam 22/02/20 12:19 am thats ok πŸ™‚ g3 was frantic cuz lowtax barged

into his office saying where’s the money. i

told g3 to send him home and make hime come

back lter:)

-=-

sam 03/03/20 2:01 pm i just emailed u the release.

also, someone took the emails on the

newsletter and invited everyone to the

yahoogroups πŸ™‚ oh well.. i think we’re

wrapping up the signing of the biggest sites

anyways.

and also we’ll use them talking on the yahoo

groups as violation of the nda.

sam 03/03/20 2:03 pm we should find the owner of the yahoo egruops

list and kick them out πŸ™‚

bryant 03/03/20 2:05 pm Hmm, actually the egroups thing might be a

positive. There’s a lot of negativity in

there from time to time, but it’s also been a

good way for them to vent. Better yet they

either don’t know we’re in there or don’t care

– but it’s a good way for us to keep tabs on

general moods, etc.

sam 03/03/20 2:06 pm thats true yeah.. and when things turn around,

we can use that to deploy campaigns, etc.

bryant 03/03/20 2:06 pm Better to have them talking in front of us

than behind us. =)

bryant 03/03/20 2:11 pm Actually this is great – someone starts

yapping and we’ll just direct them to the

eGroup. Almost as if it was part of our own

plan to foster better communication.

-=-

bryant 05/03/20 12:05 pm Jarret

bryant 05/03/20 12:05 pm Just looking at his status.

sam 05/03/20 12:06 pm does he say he doesnt?

sam 05/03/20 12:06 pm oh ok

bryant 05/03/20 12:06 pm He under 18?

sam 05/03/20 12:06 pm yes he was

bryant 05/03/20 12:06 pm Know if he still is?

sam 05/03/20 12:06 pm i think he might still be

bryant 05/03/20 12:06 pm That would help us I think.

bryant 05/03/20 12:06 pm Makes his parents liable for his actions.

bryant 05/03/20 12:07 pm Good way to put the fear of death in him. If

we can talk to the lawyer tomorrow that’s even

better. He has people who have been more than

happy to work with me getting behind him.

bryant 05/03/20 12:07 pm I wouldn’t say anything to him for the time

being.

bryant 05/03/20 12:08 pm Going to be interesting to see how people I

talk to respond to me tomorrow.

WARDEN TEACHES YOU HOW TO RANT [Author: Lum the Mad]

In case you were confused on how to be a ranter, Warden the RETARDED MONKEY!!!111!!1! gives you five easy lessons. Well, only one, but it has the strength of five because his heart is pure.

What a terrible rant! That’s your point? Haven’t you learned yet that sarcasm doesn’t carry over in a text message very well?

Here, let me fix it for you. You really have to push these things if you want to get your effect across :

oooohhhh NOW i see why the Noble House, the Military Legion and the Mercenary Band even exist — Because they provide different titles !!!! Good job WP, you had THE idea there, OH YEAH WOW THAT REALLY beats all expectations. One could have guessed that bounty-hunters get some perks from a mercenary band, or MAYBE just MAYBE that a commander from the military legion or a knight from a noble house got SOME GOD DAMN benefit from choosing it… but OH NO, GOD FORBID!!! you have made the best of it again THIS TIME, YOU LOSERS. WHO DO YOU HAVE DESIGNING THIS CRAP FOR YOU, A RETARDED MONKEY?! Really a good show there. NO REALLY!! it’s great that we can choose a guild that is NOT IN ANY SINGLE WAY different from another but carries A TEXT DESCRIPTION so that everyone knows how he has to roleplay. WOW HOW LONG DID THAT TAKE YOU MORONS TO CODE?!!
….

See what I mean? I think you’ll agree that the overall point comes across much more effectively if you add in a few exclamation points, capitalize for dramatic effect, and make at least one retarded monkey reference.

Alternatively, you could just come out and state your opinion, which appears to be something along the lines of : “I don’t like stuff that’s been added into the game just for flavor. If it doesn’t affect the actual mathematical equations of ToHit and damage, I couldn’t care less. Please remove it from your design immediately.”

While I still wouldn’t agree with your opinion, at least it would read better.

UO EXPANSION TO BE RELEASED AS β€œDAWN”: THE WORD β€œTHIRD” TO BE PATCHED IN LATER [Author: Lum the Mad]

As the collected UO community basically heaves a long-suffering sigh at news that UO3D would absolutely positively be on store shelves later this month, Jinx found a choice quote from an interview with Rick “Stellerex” Hall, UO3D’s Producer, last year.

We have plenty of time for a polishing pass, actually a couple polishing passes. OSI has definitely said they don’t want to release this thing until it’s good. We’re not giving people a ship date because we’re not shipping until it’s ready. Ready doesn’t mean debugged, either. Ready means debugged and polished and nice and smooth. They’ve told us they’re going to leave the decision to ship in the hands of the development team.

So either (a) the development team thinks scheduling a release while serious bugs remain in the code is just fine or (b) the producer lied. You know, both of those choices pretty much suck.

I’d go on, but Jinx put it succinctly already:

What we have here is the continuation of a legacy at OSI that dates back to Ultima 8. They continue to release all their games months in advance. Its become commonplace. UO was out a good 4 months too early. T2A was 2 months too early. Depending on your point of view, UO:R is still not ready to be released nearly a year after it already has been. Third Dawn is simply the next logical progression.

God help the Ultima: Woo team. And God help anyone left at Origin, if they seriously think they can still pull this crap in the now fiercely competitive MMOG marketplace and get away with it.