January 2007

Whole Lotta Gnomes

Blizzard brags

Since SirBruce has been sleeping, I’ll go ahead and make some off the cuff analysis. Of interest is the continental breakdown:

  • North America: 2 million
  • Europe: 1.5 million
  • China: 3.5 million

That’s a fairly large market, but one that I suspect has room for expansion still (by Blizzard or others). To compare with their market share breakdown in August of 2005:

  • North America: 1 million
  • Europe: 1 million (as of January 2006)
  • China: 1.5 million

Interestingly, Korea isn’t in either of these breakdowns, despite being believed by most analysts to be the 3rd most popular MMOG in Korea.

Cyber Rape Porn Murder Death Kill

Sometimes I wake up in the morning, unsure about why I’m here. What is our purpose in life? Why do we wake up every morning? How did I get here? Yes, where is that large automobile?

Then I’m handed stuff like this, and I realize: wait a minute, there is a mission for me in life, and it is to show my disturbing lack of empathy to the world. Thanks!

(Note: link is supposed to be NWS. I’m not sure why, but there you have it. I think she talks about porn somewhere.)

This article’s Time To Dibbell: 2.47K. Pretty good, Kelly!

Rape is a crime of power, humiliation, and emotional violence. Any non-consensual kind of event like what happened to Anshe could very well cause the same sort of effect on the victim and I’m apalled that journalists would report on the incident with such obvious lack of compassion or comprehension.

Yes. Someone outside the Graef household is actually, seriously arguing that Anshe Chung was raped by flying virtual phalluses.

Let’s be perfectly clear. Ms. Chung was griefed. Something we are all familiar with in the MMO world (Psychochild covered this angle very adeptly already, so I’ll just direct you there) and despite Prokofy Neva’s profuse, multimegabyte rantings against “tekkies” to the contrary, Second Life is in fact an MMO game. Albeit one where the Time To Cock is measured in picoseconds. In fact, I fully expect an open source SL client to have a phallus ON THE LOGIN SCREEN.

So, at its core, this is a Customer Service issue, not a DMCA violation or a violation of free speech or abuse of political rights or whatever the hell else heavy breathing happens. This is the exact same problem that every MMO deals with, every day. The difference is that MMOs are designed to be griefer resistant, thanks in large part to hard-won experience that they need to be, whereas Second Life, by dint of not being a “game”, has given people tools to be more effective griefers.

But it’s certainly not rape by any definition. If it is, then flaming someone on a forum is assault and battery. Labelling it such not only laughably trivializes sexual assault, it makes discourse on how to stop griefplay in social virtual worlds – which is a problem – that much more caustic and unproductive.

The point Ms. Rued is making, when you toss aside the attacks on journalists who look askance at the Second Life community’s orgiastic debauchery, can be condensed into her closing:

Virtual worlds invite players to invest emotionally in their characters, and it only seems fair that journalists acknowledge that investment. The avatar is virtual, the player and her feelings are not.

Hurting someone’s feelings is not rape, it’s rudeness. Both are undesirable. But to confuse the issue by conflating the two makes it impossible to work towards solving either by closing off any discussion with a Godwin (or, in this case, a Dibbell).

Set Your Phasers On Snark

Wil Wheaton reviews Star Trek: Next Generation. Holy triphasic dilithium, this is good stuff.

One of Geordi’s first stops is to visit his good pal Wesley Crusher, who shows off one of his science projects (a mini tractor beam,) and one of his toys, a device that lets Wesley recreate speech from anyone on the ship. Any doubt that Wesley is a complete weenie is removed when we learn that he uses this device to have Captain Picard say things like, “Welcome to the bridge, Wesley,” instead of having Counselor Troi say things like, “Smack my ass, Wesley, I’m a naughty, naughty bitch.” To entirely erase any lingering doubt, Wesley spends the rest of the scene whining that the captain won’t let him on the bridge, even though Wesley is so obviously smart and cool. (On a personal note, I’d like to thank the writers for making such a great first impression with my character. In addition to this spectacular scene, I also got to say lines like, “So you mean I’m drunk? I feel strange, but also good!” In fact, John D.F. Black — who I didn’t realize at the time hated me — also wrote Justice, where he gave me the awesome line, “We’re from Starfleet! We don’t lie!” Thanks for that one, too, Mr. Black.)

You know, when people have been demanding your character’s death for 20 years, that resentment just sort of builds up!

Search Terms Are Teh Fun

literary term 0ne word that means something different – “antithetical”
burning crusade torrent – nope, sorry, not here.
do log ins put people off – yeah, seems that way.
gm virginia uo mythic – you want over here.
absurd joke – Priest, rabbi, and imam walk into a bar. Rabbi asks if the wine there is kosher. Imam says “Probably not, and I can’t drink it anyway. What do you think, Father?” Priest says “Fish.”
blog +”internet is for porn” +point – I have no idea what you were trying to find, but I hope you found it here.
brogame sucks – Clearly someone dislikes one of Google Ads’ advertisers.
burning crusade downloader – I TOLD YOU NO.
buy broken toys – $75,000 might get my attention.
change port to play wow at work – I’d tell you about Remote Desktop, but really, can’t you just wait until you get home?
daoc gold transfer – Look, just because I don’t work there any more doesn’t mean I’m still not going to boot your cheating arse to next Thursday.
eating in second life – probably not what you think.
elgoog credit number to cash hand in – it’s like poetry in motion.
entropia ponzi – yeah, probably.
eq flowers of happinessover here.
eve isk crack – One of these things is not like the other.
experiment on curly hair to straight – the hell, you wound up here?
get cock in second life – Ask Joel Stein.
hardcore kathy lee – Nothing surprises me on the Interweb any more. You wacky series of tubes!
hoi 2 attrition – Well first off, it’s different in the Doomsday xpack, where you have to research Hospital techs to keep your attrition rate at roughly the same rate as HOI2 vanilla, which means the AI, which won’t usually research them, will have a higher rate of attrition. You can’t usually make much of an advantage from this, though, because the AI usually does a pretty good job of manpower management. Anyway, attrition is something you want to keep a keen eye of managing once your total manpower drops below 300 or so, because at that point you’re going to be hitting the bottom just from regular combat losses, especially as Germany on the Eastern Front; in fact Germany usually loses the war thanks to crippling attrition sapping its manpower to the point where formations start to shatter. Much like history, actually. Anyway, hope that helped you, anonymous Google surfer.
how to dupe shadowbane – cp -r /usr/sbin/shadowbane /usr/sbin/shadowbane2
how to win friends influence – first off, work on completing sentences.
lum broken – why do you hate me so?
nuclear hoi doomsday – The AI generally won’t develop a nuclear program unless you use mods like DAIM or EmKeiEn. Not sure if DAIM countries will nuke it up or not, I know EmKeiEn will, but that mod’s latest version has some significant issues with nerfing Germany pre-1939. HOI2 and Doomsday both have vastly overpowered nukes, where a single nuke strike will devastate an entire region. Use this to your advantage!
pinball machine firefighting – PUT IT OUT PUT IT OUT!
sony company owns blizzard – No, it doesn’t. Sorry, Smed.
stevie “killcreek” case nude – It’s like a perennial search term.
wow guild changes rank grandmaster – You do know Blizzard has their own site, right? Just checking.
ultima online rmt opinion – I bet it will be changing soon!
world of warcraft masturbate – EW. Go away.

Blizzard: Splitting Servers Whether You’re Ready Or Not

Clearly, Blizzard is getting ready for the onrush of reactivated accounts for Burning Crusade by any means necessary.

Will I be able to choose my new realm?

When a realm is chosen to undergo a split, an in-game message at the character-selection screen will prompt all affected players to choose between one of the two new realms being created. The player will be able to make this decision (or change his or her decision) up until the realm-split process has been completed. The realm that the player chooses will be the destination for all characters that the player plays on that realm.

What happens to my characters if I don’t choose?

If a realm is not chosen by the player, each character will be individually relocated to one of the two new realms based on a priority system. The system will first determine whether the character is in a guild and move the character based on the destination of the guild’s leader. If the character is not in a guild, the system will then check if the character is part of an arena team and move the character accordingly. If these conditions do not apply, Blizzard will make the decision for the character(s).

Uh… OK. Yeah, no possibility for disaster here, nuh uh.

Assuming that most of the “server data” is simply tables in an Oracle RDBMS, some bright sparky coder figured out that overcrowding on launch day was a solvable problem. Hey, we can fix this with a smart query!
Too bad it’s doubtful that the server tables have fields for “community”, “friends”, “drama” and “postlaunch decline”. I’m sure those will be hotswapped in next patch.

Second Life Releases Open Source Client

Very interesting. I expect we’ll see more of this in the future. It’s not like black hats can’t reverse engineer your packet protocol a few hours after you patch, anyway.

Of course, this wouldn’t be a Second Life story without wackily surreal PR.

“We feel we may already have a bigger group of people writing code than any shared project in history, including Linux,” says Rosedale.

Of Metaverses And Flying Phalluses

The always amusing Warren Ellis has a story filed with Reuters about pretty much everything Second Life recently, from the hoofrah over “Resident” numbers to the phallocentric attack on Anshe Chung.

There are two dominant perceptions of Second Life right now. Due to what some see as clever presentation of numbers, Linden Labs, the creators and operators of Second Life, have parlayed a supposed “Residents” number in excess of two millions into a good story: That Second Life is a snowballing Internet application that gains speed by the moment. […]

The other perception, of course, is that Second Life is a psychosexual nightmare given virtual form, where giant penises roam the land and disturbed people wear the forms of bears and then have repulsive intercourse.

It was interesting to me to see both perceptions collide a few weeks back.

And now, it’s interesting for you as well. Both for Ellis’ reaction to the wackiness that is Second Life, and the fallout thereof as it impacts the rest of us.

Both the widely-read blog BoingBoing and the website of the Sydney Morning Herald reported on this [the flying phallus incident], leading to nastygrams from Ailin Graef’s husband and business partner Guntram, threatening legal action for reporting on the event – which he categorized as “cyber rape porn” — and posting screenshots of the attack, in an email to BoingBoing’s Xeni Jardin, a California-based print and radio journalist.

Cyber rape porn? Someone’s been reading my blog spam.

That’s Certainly One Way To Look At It

Tobold has a canceled World of Warcraft account (being one of them Eurotypes he migrated to closer shores when the European servers opened), so he received (and helpfully reposted) Blizzard’s mash note to ex-subscribers.

Blizzard Entertainment proudly invites you to return to the World of Warcraft on January 16th and journey beyond the Dark Portal, where an infinity of new experiences await you. Given the high volume of returning subscribers we expect when The Burning Crusade™ expansion goes live, if you are planning a return to Azeroth, we recommend reactivating your account as soon as possible in order to avoid the expected rush of launch-day activations.

While it’s difficult to fault Blizzard for expecting activation server woes (with millions of people probably hitting them up that day, it’s doubtful that a cost-effective short term solution to remedy that even exists), one can only marvel at the chutzpah of using this as a marketing tactic. “You know we have queues, in fact it may be why you left! Sign up now and avoid the lines!”

The Internet Is, Actually, For Porn (And Drugs, And Ponzi Schemes)

Well, my blog certainly is running slowly this morning! Hm, let’s log into the shell and see what’s up.


Note for those who don’t speak Unix: those numbers are load averages. And should be less than 1.

Hmm. Why is the server so overloaded? Maybe my email holds a clue.

Yes, I think we’ve got the answer. Will the last actual human reading this blog please turn out the lights. Thank you.

See, when I fixed it so you folks on IE7 could see the comments easily? Guess who else it fixed things for.

I did some behind the scenes trickery to try to fix. That’s why some of you got 404’s just now when trying to leave comments. Initial results aren’t good, so you may see those irritating “type this number to continue” things pop up, assuming they haven’t already been hax0red by the spambot makers.
Oh, and I hate people.