It doesn’t take much for rumors to start… "Has Mu given up on AC?"… "I heard Mu moved to Alaska"… All I did was contract an incredibly debilitating form of the flu or pneumonia or the plague or something.  Of course this happened while I was out of town, which of course meant I didn’t get any of my mail until now.  An of course, there was a considerable amount of it on the latest rant.

Subject:  That Damn Staff
Date: Sun, 02 Jan 2000 13:21:33 -0500
From: "Chris L’Etoile"

Hey Mu,

The Staff of the Weeping Witness was given to Caeryn Dryad because he/she/whatever was the first to assemble the Witness Prophesy at the end of beta, a long, hard process which took hours of running all over Dereth, including going through the worst spots of the Inferno-infested Dires. It’s a contest prize, given for completing a difficult and temporary quest, not a random GM boon for having a cool website.

Bottom line, the Staff does not exist because she did "something cool on a site, or host(ed) an event, or suck(ed) miles of cock, or deliver(ed) chinese take-out to our offices." You of all people should know us better than to think that, Mu. I’m very disappointed to learn that one of the most clueful people in the community, and one of perhaps a dozen who’s met us personally, can still think that we’d play favorites like OSI does. WE’RE NOT OSI, all right? We regard their behavior as absolute anathema, as a case in point of what not to do. Damn, don’t I slam them enough in my .plan to make that clear?

Everyone had the same shot at getting the Staff – it certainly wasn’t Sarneho’s decision. If Caeryn’s abusing it (I don’t think she is as a matter of course, otherwise this would have come up before now), we’ll take a hard, long look at what, if anything, can be done to reign it in. You know why? Because, unlike OSI, whenever we find that a mistake has been made, we admit it and we fucking fix it. The WoBF was in the game beginning in Preview2, but when it was discovered and exploited nine months later, we fixed it promptly.

Jesus Christ, does every AC player still have ‘Nam flashbacks to the abuses of UO? Calm down and tell us what the problems are before you jump down are throats with all these accusations and threats. Don’t think I missed that part about visiting the office with a baseball bat. I know you’re mad, Mu, and you have good reason to be, but that’s crossing a line. Go ahead and say we’re cocksmoking moron losers who don’t know how to design or run a game. Don’t threaten us with physical harm.

As for the jump heal bug, I’ve said repeatedly that only the healing kit exploit was discovered in time to be fixed in the last update. Kynn himself notified us that the Heal Self spell bug exists, and it’s on DanO’s plate as I type this. I personally look into and log EVERY bug Kynn sends me, because I trust his judgement.

Subject: Re: That Damn Staff
Date: Sat, 08 Jan 2000 23:58:05 -0500

Just got home from the flu.

I know the story behind the staff now, though it doesn’t really change my feelings on it.  It is a remarkably twinky abusable weapon, which becomes even more glaring in a PvP setting, where its rapid firing time (staff anim is very fast) and inability to lower the wielder’s skills below the point of usage are totaly unbelievable.  You should have seen the ‘matches’.  What a farce.  What was worse was that Caeryn saw nothing at all wrong with it, nothing that was unbalancing, although in both matches all she had to do was run in close and hit the mouse a lot.  Counter:  none.

I can tell you right away what it means in PvM as well… with a spellcraft of 467, it means instant olthoi/obsidian killer… hell even virindi, since they don’t have a boatload of hit points to begin with.  And since olthoi are currently the only source of decent loot in the game aside from camping silly chests, this means a constant stream of super loot and rapid xp for the owner, with no additional work required.

As for UO flashbacks, well yeah we all have them… too many bad experiences with crooked GM’s, preferential treatment for super guilds in EQ, etc etc.  I’m personally more worried about the fact that it looks like a mistake that could easily happen again, and the effects be more damaging than ever.

Sorry about the baseball bat stuff, but I was getting sick from the flu and from reading chat logs with Caeryn, and was super pissed off.  You should have seen what I was saying in zone chat. :P

I really like Chris.  He’s even meaner than I am sometimes.  I hope I can still somehow swindle an interview thingy with him, and find a way to slip in the phrase "cocksmoking moron losers who don’t know how to design or run a game".  It’s just too good to pass up.

Other select mails…

Subject: Quick comment on newest rant’s…

I think I was the first guy to show up with the wand of black fire, it was useless for pvp against high level’s…It had 120 spell craft and as such it was resisted 9 out of 10 times. However it WAS fun spamming fireballs at friends "hoping" you got lucky…I believe the period where the wands became widely used was when they were changed the 3rd time, the first time they actually had 270 war magic req, however they were bugged and as such did not actually check your war magic. During this time I also believe they had 280 or so spell craft.

Osium

Actually the best thing about the wand back then was the fact that wands were bugged and had no animation time, so you could fire a bunch of FB VI’s out machinegun-style, provided you had high conversion and didn’t mind coughing up for mana charges.  8P

Subject: This is Lasombra

Hiya Mu,

Read your page quite often, not Sure if you know who I am but  you may have heard my name batted around.

We Left AC, me Obmar,  Lhani, Miqua too, and Rai jinn is about to leave.

Just wanted to make a comment on the Staff, I can Say I saw this coming, When Caeryn (wtf how you spell the name, who cares really, lets call her nimwad) When nimwad posted the item in her items list on  (what was it, the vault or Crossroads?  Let call it the Dumbass item site) The dumbass item site, I immediately posted  my concerns on the message board along the lines of game breaking and favoritism by Turbine for good press, this was censored and flamed immediately, now we see this has come to fruition. Hehe Well I hope the item gets lost soon…

As for us, Well we keep reading in hopes one day AC will mature enough that it will be worth playing again, good luck Brotha

Thanks to everyone else who sent me mail on the issue.  I’m still sorting it.  8P

Anyways, before all this nonsense about The Staff and its implications started up, I was going to show you some exciting scenes of combat from another cutting-edge MMORPG.  Perhaps some of you are familiar with it.

 

I forgot that I even had a license for The Realm.  I ordered a CD for it way back when, back before that damn Bean/Kagero suckered me into getting UO and forgot about it until I was digging under some pizza boxes looking for my Broodwar CD.  Looks thrilling eh?  Playing a few hours of this very cartoony 2D MUD led me to one conclusion:  the point of all MMORPG’s is the same… The Realm, UO, or AC.  That point is getting to a really high level so you can hang out in town and bullshit.

Kynn’s recent rant about the problems at high level is very closely related to this ultimate goal.  At level 41, it’s kind of a pain for me to actually go out and gain xp.  Not "fight monsters", "gain xp", since with intelligent play and good preparation there’s not a whole lot of danger from the higher-level monsters anymore (and not just cheesing from behind a wall).  Sure I’d like to jack up Sashi’s various skills (which admittedly kinda suck for his level, comes from having an early fetish for high stats), but the sheer number of magma golems/tuskers required to make an appreciable difference is so huge it becomes daunting just from the standpoint of tedium.  So I hang out in Arwic, play an alchemist, help out the vassals, and generally bullshit with people at the tavern when I’m not busy being portalled out of town every time I step out of a building.  Yes, it’s not just ennui/pneumonia/disgust at gamebreakers that keeps me logged off.

Let’s compare:  in UO, when you’re not being screwed over by lag/bugs/crooked OSI staff/stupid patches, you work up your character to be a 6-7x GM mage/dex monkey, get a lot of cash and junk, maybe fight other players for a little while, and in the end hang out at the keep and bullshit with your friends.  A hardcore PK/PvPer will have more to do for longer, since UO’s built-in stat/skill caps means that it’s not possible to totally dominate everyone else based solely on numbers, but eventually you hang out and bullshit.

In The Realm, which is not surprisingly somewhat less crowded than it was about 3 years ago, you run around and fight monsters, get stuff, do some "take objectA to personB" sorta quests, get to high level, kill Fuloran a few times, and then hang out in town (usually one square south of the East Leinster gatekeeper) and bullshit.  3 years ago, when I did a trial of The Realm, you could barely walk around town in East Leinster because of all the freaking god-characters standing in that one square with their orange baldrics and ugly "fleshy" boots just… standing there.  They’re still standing there.

It was while my level 1 cartoon wizard was walking around East Leinster watching people do nothing that it became apparent that this was the ultimate goal of MMORPG’s, at least as they exist today.  It’s also the reason that I haven’t logged back into The Realm recently, or played Sashi much.  It’s probably an inevitable end result of powergaming, too… you take delight in mastering "the system", becoming all badass, and then when you get to level 50/level 300/7x GM or whatever, you realize there’s not much else left to do, aside from the occasional super-sick event/quest (which is usually either underpowered for characters at your ability, or so grossly overpowered as to be comedic), managing your allegiance (which can give you headaches you don’t really want or need), or PK a lot of people (mentioned so Kynn doesn’t feel obligated to point out this option later 8P).

Naturally, there are supposed to be some other things you can do to pass the time until a dungeon full of level 126 White Rabbits appears.  Here’s how they typically pan out…

Helping vassals/newbies.  If you’re any kind of a decent patron, you help out your vassals anyway.  If you’re like me, a mage with a lot of archer vassals, they’re probably hunting olthoi all the time and getting better stuff than you anyway.  If you’ve ever hung out in Shoushi for any period of time, you’ve probably been the subject of so much begging (and outright demands for cash and gear) that the idea of helping newbies you don’t know might well be repulsive to you.

Roleplaying.  This is a viable alternative, if you form a fellowship with other roleplayers, turn off tells and squelch the local chat so you don’t have to listen to anyone else.  I really think the genre we now call "computer roleplaying games" needs to get a new monicker.  Just because you’re in a "roleplaying game" doesn’t mean that anyone is actually "roleplaying", and I’m sorry, but when my chat box starts filling up with spam from people named Golden Showers, *****’s Alchy Mule, and Ima Gay Warmage, the spirit is lost for me.

Until something better comes along, here are some things I’ve done/observed people do to pass the time, amusing at any level.

Rabbit parade.  Mana drain a bunch of rabbits and walk them into town while they attack you.  If you’re good, you can get them to follow you into a building which you can then escape from, leaving an interesting puzzle for the newbie who enters to buy a belt pouch and finds himself under attack.

Free fish.  Buy about 20 stacks of 12 fish each and pawn them off on people who are particularly annoying to you, such as (1) people with stupid names, (2) people who spam everyone for equipment, (3) people who are seen running through the newbie dungeon wearing matty coats and olthoi helms.  Explain nothing.

Bug rumor.  Go to some populated town and start offering 1000 pyreals for calling stones.  Refuse to explain why.  Leave before you go totally bankrupt.  See if a rumor about a calling stone exploit gets posted on Dr. TwisTer.

Get screenshots of really stupid chat.  Just hang out at the Arwic archmage and wait for someone to make a total ass of themselves.  Shouldn’t take more than 3 minutes.

Offend a bunch of people by saying nasty things on a rant page, which as everyone knows should be solely humor-based.

If reading this nonsense makes you think I’m just really bored, take into consideration the fact that I’ve actually done all these things.  Feel my pain.

Oh hell I really am bored.  20k on Frostfell to anyone who comes up with the best stupid way to amuse themselves, and sends a screenshot of their stupidity in action.  (JPG conversion please.)  At least then I would have a reason to log in.

 

 

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