April 2001

DAILY RADAR FOLDS [Author: Lum the Mad]

The big sites are starting to crash and burn… and we’re seeing the crash of one of the biggest. Daily Radar is supposedly closing as of tomorrow and all of its employees are to be terminated. Spotted on Quarter to Three, with a good deal of supporting documentation on Gamers Depot. Here’s a quote from an email supposedly sent out to Imagine employees.

Today, Imagine has closed it’s Internet properties: DailyRadar and the Computing Network. In the light of all that has befallen us this year so far, I don’t doubt that this will come as a surprise to all of you. Once again, products have closed and jobs have been lost. It hurts.

Very sadly, the demise of these sites means that most of the teams working on them will be leaving us this week. We are transferring a small number of people in to other businesses where there is a clear need but sadly we cannot find a place for everyone.

I guess piling on so many ads that it becomes difficult to find actual content may not be a viable business model after all. At any rate, if more develops we’ll keep you updated.


This may read like one of those crazy things I post to be funny, but this is actually serious. Newton Dragon, who maintains the servers for http://www.ianstorm.com (Todd Pratt’s gaming news site) and http://www.moongates.com/uj.exe (the ever-helpful Update Journal which we’re in the process of cloning for other games) let us know that the reason both those sites are down is apparently due to, um, the Chinese. Before the server went down this message replaced the home page:


Beat down Imperialism of American!

Powered by

Honker Union of China

====== H.U.C ======

The manifesto of Honker:

Maintains the reunification of the motherland!

Guards the national sovereignty!

Outside consistent resistance shame!

Attack anti-Chinese arrogance!

We’ll let you know if we hear more from the previously unknown “Honker Union of China” and what views if any they have on Ultima Online and/or the New York Mets.


And some days, I just can’t make this stuff up.

McMillan said Gossuin, who arrived Tuesday in Puerto Rico, was being fitted for a gown and swimsuit to wear in the May 11 pageant and had not yet been asked about her gender.

“There will be some determination. Wardrobe ladies have instructions to report immediately,” she said.

[Madame du] Fontenay[, head of the Miss France Committee,] denounced the Internet as an uncontrolled medium where rumor-mongers, pedophiles, prostitutes and criminals could go about their business with impunity.

Mdme. du Fontenay then immediately repaired to her bedchamber, where she was scheduled to entertain several high-ranking members of the Wehrmacht.


As pretty much everyone knows, UGO is starting to make an annoying habit of not paying people. Starting last winter, they discovered that they didn’t actually have to meet those annoying contractual obligations, which meant that the supposedly paid-by-UGO websites joined the bandwagon of fansites with thousand-dollar monthly bills suddenly starting begging for money.

Supposedly, however, UGO was on the mend – a few weeks back, they sent out partial back payments to their affiliates, and pledged that the newly-renegotiated take-less-money-or-else contracts would be honored. Really. We promise.

Guess what! They’re renegotiating the contracts again! Assuming “you’ll take what little scraps we send you and LIKE it, you dog!” counts as negotiation. According to the webmaster of a major UGO-affiliated website who’d prefer to remain anonymous:

No one has gotten paid regularly. UGO has not gotten their money from their investors yet, the papers aren’t final. They got some bridge payments and have paid us behind schedule and sporadically. But now they don’t have any money. Right now they still owe everyone for February and March. They’re promising that the February payments will get to us next month, and March the month after that. That means we’re getting paid for March in June.

That’s part one. Part two is the kicker. As of April, UGO is no longer honoring their guaranteed CPM contracts at all. Everyone is going to revenue share. And “to maximize the amount you get, you should adopt tower ads and popup ads.”

The webmaster went on to say that there was no way in hell that he was putting up UGO tower ads and popup ads on his site. Why should he? If he wanted to put up such intrusive advertising, he could do it with Internet advertising companies who might actually pay him one day. And a lot of the higher trafficked websites, such as Evil Avatar and PvP, are doing exactly that – putting up ads by companies other than UGO, in addition to the UGO banners.

So, given all this, why in the hell do companies keep slapping inane, offensive UGO banners up on their site? I mean, it’s not like they’re actually being paid for them.

The problem is that most UGO-affiliated sites are wearing blinders and don’t want to take them off. They’re still partying like it’s 1999, and all you had to do was add dot-com to your name and people would give you money. And you had a pet flying monkey. And you could have huge, bloated, ungodly data-driven websites that covered literally every game in existence or, if you’ve really got mad skillz, just make a comfortable living reposting press releases and pictures of chicks.

And UGO is taking advantage of that, and driving the stake up their supposed client’s asses with nary a drop of lubricant to be seen. They know that they hold all the cards – that for the most part the authors of website content are usually young, almost always with no experience in the business world, and certainly with no acumen for selling advertising on their site. I mean, if they did that, they wouldn’t need UGO, would they?

But these sites need UGO, badly. They need the promise that they really can make a living at writing about games and stuff, and never have to grow up, and never have to pay the bills, and never having to believe that polite young men and women in finely tailored suits would ever lie to you.

But they are, my friends, they are. Or, if you don’t believe me, how about J “Just J” Moses, UGO’s presumably-being-paid-on-a-regular-basis CEO, as quoted in Silicon Alley Daily.

“We can aggregate the best content that is out there. We get very, very good content at an incredibly efficient price,” Moses says. “We spend very little money programming. Our costs of content, compared to costs of content of other media plays such as iVillage and About.com, they’re a fraction of what theirs are.”

Imagine that – fucking over your writers as a business model. Gee. And it worked so well for Sam Jain, too!

RICK HALL TELLS ALL [Author: Arcadian Del Sol]


Rick “Stellerex” Hall recently conducted an interview with Wired and according to the teaser, he talks about “…his company’s philosophy.”

If you wish to listen, grab your MP3 player and go.

(Note: Heather, webmistress of CoB, was kind enough to provide a transcript.)

Oh and here’s a picture they described as a conceptual drawing for UO.


All your base are belong to us: Developers busily working on the next generation of virtual worlds can stop now – someone patented the concept, and, presumably, will demand royalties for anyone else infringing on their ingenious invention of this wacky online thingy.

The present invention provides a highly scalable architecture for a three-dimensional graphical, multi-user, interactive virtual world system. A plurality of users can interact in the three-dimensional, computer-generated graphical space where each user executes a client process to view a virtual world from the perspective of that user.

What a stunningly original idea!

Two ships enter! One ship leaves!: Speaking of stunningly original ideas, G. Bob of Netdevil, formerly of Origin Systems, formerly of LtM, formerly of Usenet and points west, introduced the THUNDERDOME! to Jumpgate.

T.R.I. has now legalized honor duels.

How does this work? Any pilot may “call out” and challenge another pilot for an honor duel. This Friday night, if there are any brave enough to participate, the first honor duel will occur. The winner will be awarded 100,000 credits and a medal to celebrate their victory. The loser? The loser receives the ultimate penalty. Death. In game terms, they shall lose everything. Their experience. Their money. Everything they have worked for.

Only a truly sick mind would have thought of this.

I know… it’s only blocky elves and we like it… like it, like it, no we don’t: Speaking of truly sick minds, the now certified PK-free Shadows of Luclin expansion site is open, complete with new in-game renders of everyone’s favorite fan fair mascot. Check out the big polys on Firiona!

The new models will have a greater number of face options available. For those who already have characters, we will be creating faces for the new models that closely resemble the ones you chose for your old models. We may also allow players with existing characters a one-time choice of a new face for each character, but that’s not guaranteed at the moment.

That was a cool movie, wasn’t it?

A game publisher without a clue? Never thought that would happen: And finally this morning, here’s a little tidbit from the Sierra-MM3D suit over Middle Earth Online. In the VoodooExtreme thread on the story an apparent former MEO developer has a few unkind words to say about Sierra’s (mis)management.

Sierra didn’t understand limited elf populations (you would have to voted in by several other elves to become one, so you wouldn’t have every square block packed with elves). They didn’t like limited magic. They wanted players to be able to gain spells on a whim. The also thought hobbits were boring. More muscle! (or something obscene like that).

Perm. death was never favorable to them. It was going to VERY hard to kill yourself, but there was still a chance. A character psychology was going to be in the background — if you wanted your character to KILL someone, you had to start small and work your way up to being evil. A newbie couldn’t jump in and kill right away.

Rumor mill: We hired a new producer, who came from company X, then when the focus groups proved the team was going in the wrong direction, they were laid off. The producer then takes the project to company X to sub-develop off-site.

What it ultimately came down was that Sierra was afraid of being innovative and original.

Of course, according to patent #US06219045, there really is nothing new under the sun.

BRAD MCQUAID: NO PK FOR YOU! [Author: Lum the Mad]

Brad “Aradune” McQuaid at Verant debunked the recent Luclin-PK rumor in our comments thread last night.

Short Answer: The rumor is false — Shadows of Luclin zones on non-PvP servers will be the same as any other zone as it relates to PvP.

Long Answer: It appears information about the next PvP server (which will have a new and different ruleset) got munged up with information we’ve released on the next expansion, EverQuest: The Shadows of Luclin.

Anyways, EverQuest will remain a primarily PvE game, with optional PvP provided primarily via special servers with rules variants. Also, with our focus on PvE and with EQ such an item-centric game, I doubt you’ll ever see territorial based PvP rules (we don’t really see it as fair that a player who wants to only play PvE would have to subject himself to PvP in order to obtain an item that might only be found in a PvP territory). That’s not to say we’re against the concept in general, but rather that it’s not compatible with EQ’s Vision(TM) specifically 🙂

So there you have it. It was still fun to think about, though. The expansion may have been on the moon, but if that went through you would have been able to hear the whining from space.