December 2000

SO LONG, CREW MEMBERS [Author: Arcadian Del Sol]

Every weekday afternoon of my childhood, I would skip the bus ride home and run six blocks because it was faster. I would dash inside the door, drop my coat and pencilbox on the floor and slide to a carpet burning halt in front of the television. I’d spin the giant knob to UHF-45, and plant myself two feet from the screen, elbows on rug, hands on chin. The familiar ditty on calliope organ would dance in my ears, and then I’d hear it – that familiar old sea bell, ding-ding ding-ding ding-ding. And there he was, in red jacket and white sailing cap. With a salute and a hearty, “ahoy, crewmembers!” the show would begin.

The early 1970’s was not a fun place in America. We were still struggling against the last few remnants of the “Old South”, and the last of the dead soldiers were still arriving aboard vast hospital ships. Domestically, my family life was not much different. As a small child, divorce isn’t a concept you can fully comprehend, and when the process is not a peaceful one, the whole sum of your childhood memories can often be a collection of raised voices, and heated arguments. The most vivid memory of my youth was watching the door jam drift left and right and left and right before me as my parents engaged in a tug-of-war over me, each one holding an arm. Divorce is never easy and it’s casualties are the innocence of childhood.

But the memories I have that were not soured by harsh reality, were watching my boyhood hero, Captain Chesapeake, steering his ship over the superimposed view of the Baltimore Harbor, and bopping my head to the delightful theme song that made the living room, for just a short time, sound like a carnival.

Once upon a time, long before the Fox network, the UPN network, and the WB – there was something called Independent Television; small UHF stations who had no major network of shows, and often played archaic black-and-white movies at any given hour of the day. Channel 45 in Baltimore was one such station, and it’s after-school hour was hosted by what you could probably call a regional version of Captain Kangaroo – he told corny jokes, had puppet friends, and when his ship’s bell rang, it was time for the next presentation. “Did you hear that? That was six bells, Crewmembers! And you know what that means – it’s time for Starblazers!”

Captain Chesapeake introduced me to some of the best television I have ever seen; Starblazers, Land of the Lost and Speed Racer. Later in life, I was lucky enough to intern at Channel 45, and worked with George Lewis during the last three years of his show. He was a gentle and warm man, and his greatest joy in life was meeting adults who recognized him on the street, who stopped him and said, “I grew up watching you!” – and he never grew tired of being asked to pose for a picture, or sign an autograph.

In an interview not many years ago, the director of the show, Dwight Weems, attempted to put into words the essence of Captain Chesapeake:

He just had this gift, this magical gift to be able to get inside of children, make them… make them smile, give ’em joy, make them laugh.

For the countless “crewmembers” who all desperately needed a reason to smile on a warm afternoon, thank you, George.

So Long.


When I think PK and PvP in the MMP environment, the first thing that pops into my head is, “Getting ganked by a dozen thirteen year olds named “UrPimpYo” and “WhozYoDaddy,” being looted, and possibly sodomized.” Then comes along a situation like that is currently happening on the Darktide PvP server of Asheron’s Call that makes me think that perhaps I’m too closed minded about it.

As I reported this week, Bael’Zharon is running free on Dereth, buffing or slaughtering hundreds at whim. What has me so surprised is the complete 180 that is taking place not only by the players, but Bael’Zharon himself, especially and most specifically, on Darktide. It seems, much to my amazement, that the people are actually… get this… RolePlaying.

If you remember the article from a couple days ago, you’ll know how disappointed I was with the players and Bael’Zharon. Well, let’s take a look at the real Bael’Zharon:

“Bael’Zharon says, “Blood, today I will take you under me — but be wary, cross me even once, and I, with the help of the Great Master shall cause you more pain than you can bear.”

“Blood,” one of the largest, if not the largest PK Monarchy on Darktide has sworn allegiance to the demon Bael’Zharon. Take a look at the groundbreaking moment for yourself:

It gets even better. Asheron himself has begun to make an appearance and speaking to monarchs on all servers.

On Darktide, where politics have always been part of the gameplay, this is adding a new dynamic. Rumor has it the “anti PK’s” will be joining forces with Asheron, if possible, and halving the community into the fight of “good and evil” that I always thought it should be.

Notice the people kneeling, saying, “Show respect,” asking each other to “Stand back.” These can’t possibly be the same people that camp lifestones and murder newbies as soon as they appear at starting towns… or can they? It can’t be possible that this proves my point that if Bael’Zharon RolePlayed, it would encourage even the lamest of lamerz to as well? I think it does. Perhaps I’m wrong, perhaps it’s only happening on Darktide where there are consequences, and the kids can’t run around screaming “trubine u r fuked” in safety at the first site of this demon.

Quite honestly, when I was first reading up on these events, the only thing that was crossing through my mind was, “This is some cool stuff.” Darktide has redeemed itself in my eyes, and gone a long way to change my jaded views on MMORPG PvP. I want to applaud these guys, and wish them luck on what will undoubtedly be a bloody, fantastic battle. Kudos, gentlemen.

Oh, and before I leave you in the hands of a comments thread, I wasn’t quite sure if I had infringed on any Stratics Copyright by mistake, or possibly read the Copyrighted thoughts of a Stratics Employee by accident, so just to make sure that I cover all my bases, here are a few links to them.


Got this email:

Hey, I was reading the Dark Ages of Camelot site recently, and noticed some disturbingly …uhm… exact duplicates of shadowbane ideas. It’s sort of funny, now that the whole Rolemaster thing is out the window they’ve started ripping off ideas from a game that noone really knows much of anything about yet. Just thought you might like to post a nice lil story about this, after you read up a little =)

Well, I did, and I’m not sure what DAoC stole from Shadowbane (being massively multiplayer? having PvP? having chicks in platemail?) but I’m sure you rabid SB fans who accused EQ of stealing the word “discipline” will enlighten me shortly.


The sometime updated Comments From Everyone Bright And Shiny was graced today by Brak of the QA team. Who made his entire post in character.

Each team member stood and raised glass to give a toast. Cutter gave the first toast, toasting the citizens of Britannia for all their input and patience. BigTiny stood and gave a toast to all the websites that sprang up in response to the faction system. Finally, Brak stood up and raised his glass to toast all of the external testers who helped get the system out the door and with accuracy.

Drunk QA testers? Explains much. Oh hell, give them some slack. Once those Third Dawn beta CDs start shipping, they will remember sleep, yea, doth remember thou fondly as a thing of thy past remembrances.


Adrenaline Vault is reporting the following:


A \’e2\’80\’9cToys for Violent Games\’e2\’80\’9d turn-in program in Illinois ended last week with no games actually having been turned in, but town police say they still believe it was a good idea.

The program, which resembled inner-city \’e2\’80\’9cToys for Guns\’e2\’80\’9d programs, offered to give computer game owners exchanges on games they thought were too violent for goods from local stores. Running from Dec. 4-10, it received considerable attention in the Chicago-area press. But in the end, everyone apparently decided to keep their games, said police community relations officer Dan Huck.

\’e2\’80\’9cWe got a lot of positive feedback, but no one turned anything in,\’e2\’80\’9d he told the Adrenaline Vault.

You know, I SURE WILL BE GLAD when someone solves the problem of violent games. I mean, I went to Best Buy the other day and the Unreal Tournament boxes were beating up all the marked-down boxes. It was just ugly. I took a bruised, battered copy of Citizen Kabuto home but it didn’t survive the drive home. The police MUST DO SOMETHING NOW. Or whatnot.


Baelish, over at a site we are happy to link to without long disclaimers, EverQuest Casters Realm, ferreted out several posts from his board by Community Relations Manager Alan “Abashi’s Janitor” VanCouvering and actual PROGRAMMER Uzun that tried to spray disinfectant over Abashi’s attempt to send wizards into a blithering rage. Without further overuse of adjectives and insults, I unabashedly copy and paste:

From Uzun:

There is a nasty rumour floating around that something will be changed in the overall way that NPCs save against the Lure series of spells this upcoming patch. This is not true. Lure saves at one time were supposed to be like lifetap saves, but this did not happen. They are currently more like Dragon Breath saves, which is better for the caster, worse for the target. They will continue to be that way!

Who could have started that nasty rumour? If you had any doubt, Uzun dispells it…

In an irc chat it was incorrectly stated, that Lures would be treated as lifetap saves, let me repeat, this is not true. Lures are treated as Dragon breath type saves both before and after tonights patch.

Absor had his broom out, as well as his buck-stopper…

…About three weeks ago monster saves were changed somewhat, so that they would resist the right kinds of Lures the right way…I probably should have figured this out earlier and let you all know. But I was having trouble understanding the change. The lack of notification is primarily my fault. I\’e2\’80\’99m sorry.

Later on in Baelish’s update, Aradune had a massive stroke after Uzun released firm statistics on just what those resists meant. The short bus version: resist percent rates to epic encounter mobs got increased in ONE resist category. All the others? Still zero percent.

It was an attack of the nerf bat, yes, but only a minor smack in the nose, rather than the wizardly sodomization Abashi had us believe.


Wood elf tannin for their long awaited cultural armor WORKS!!!! Thank you Ester, Yak, Abashi – and whoever else finally squished this stubborn little cockroach!

Tailors will also note that BONING STACKS – YESSSSS! A little thing – unless you happen to be like, a tailor.

Just got off a brief session looking at some things – none of which you will find in the official version notes.

Tracking is now greatly enchanced. Not having a ranger – I can’t attest to their extra goodies – but my druid is loving the color coded lists – all seems well so far here.

If you look at a weapon description now – you will see an extra line pertaining to the manner in which a weapon can be equipped – very, very nice touch.

I’m not going to spoil any surprises – but bakers and high elf advanced smiths just may find life just ever so slightly easier now as well.

Oh well, back in to see what other secret goodies might have cropped up. Who says we don’t talk about the good stuff *g*.


[Abashi] Basically: The Lure spells were meant to save like lifetaps. Unfortuantely they were saving like dragon breath (dragons get better saves). They were fixed, they now save like lifetaps as was intended. It should have been preannounced, but was missed due to its low game impact. It really only affects raids on things that are immune to certain types of magic.

So in other words, Wizards were nerfed because they were actually becoming popular on dragon/planar raids. Which is BAD, mmkay? Bad. There has to be some counter to the awesome destructive power a wizard commands, were he to actually command awesome destructive power. Here’s some of the less profanity-strewn reaction, from wizards and others:

I haven’t been on many epic encounters, but my understanding is that many, many strategies relied on wizard lures. I know many guilds have been recruiting wizards madly to deal with large encounters. Wizards still have their uses I’m sure, but this just took a huge chunk out of their desirability.

Just moving toward the “tanks and clerics” vision I guess. =/

I think this nerf already happened. It would at least explain why wizards have been complaining about being resisted more on VS raids as of a few patches ago (not sure about you guys but most people kill him mainly with wizards)…also he says they ‘were’ fixed and It ‘should’ have been preannounced…I think this change has already been made.

I used to get invites from complete strangers about helping them on Trak and other kinds of raids.

I guess this will not happen anymore.

This makes me so mad. First off its a MAJOR blow to the wizard class. I can’t belive they can’t know this, they would have to be completly ignorant of in game class mechanics to have missed it. Then abashi tried to down-play the whole issue as if it isn’t even important. Wizards were liked and actually invited into groups post 50 because of this very spell line. This is perpostorous.

The quote was taken from an IRC chat which can be found at castersrealm. Did you guys catch how latter on Abashi said necro liftaps were purposefully resisted by ubber mobs to balance out their “immence power” in other areas of the game. Well now that wizards are on the same resist table as necros i would like to know what “immence power” we have that balances out our newfound uselessness in uber mob encounters. We can’t even throw in a pet or nearly unresitable dot. God this whole topic makes me so mad.

Remember, according to Verant, class interdependance is the reason people keep playing Everquest. Did he actually mean to say, “class interdependance on warriors and clerics”? Probably not. Then again, Brad McQuaid played a ranger as his play character, and we all know how overpowered they are.


The Corporation manages to review Scars of Velious somehow, despite having one staff writer permabanned from EQ, one staff writer permascarred from EQ fans after a not-terribly-positive Kunark review, and the rest of which are apparently waiting for Shadowbane or busy having their head exploded.

The usual verdict. Level 30+? Woo hoo! Not? Boo.

CAVEAT VENDOR [Author: Lum the Mad]

As the original post says,

I bought an account off of e-bay 4 mos. ago from an honest established Uo dealer. I bought the account off of this person for several reasons one of which was that it had a GM fisherman on it. When i went into the other shards to get my christmas deeds from the other characters to do some cross shard trading I noticed that on a few shards there were characters with clothing bless deeds on them. I wrote him and told him about it after i noticed it. He believes i owe those clothing bless deeds to him, now 4 mos. after i have owned this account and cloth deeds are worth alot more now, since he says it was not his intention to keep those deeds on the account.

I would humbly ask for peoples honest opinions on this as I just dont want to screw myself over, but also dont want to screw this person over either. So who owns these deeds me or the guy who previously owned the account?!?!? Thanks for your opinions in advance……. Gallahad

P.S. The bless deeds were left on the account acidentally and were not mentioned as part of the transaction. Is it the right thing to do to give the deeds back?

Well, some of the responses were well thought out, sympathetic both to the current owner of the account (“you bought the account, which included everything on it, including bless deeds”), others to the former owner (“the clothing bless deeds weren’t part of the initial transaction, giving them back is the right thing to do”). And then you have what I like to call the Zippy position. You know, if you ask Zippy the Pinhead whether you should go out for a social outing with a married woman or play it safe and not risk adultery, he’ll tell you to fill your socks with mustard and throw them out the window. Kind of like these guys.

those E-Bay ppl piss me off. they deny in-game player transactions only to grease their palms on E-Bay…

I say this: SCREW HIM… no pity. stop answering him, dont speak to him. ect

Haha… yeah, he’s going to call Johnny Cochran on sue the buyer. Hahahaha.

Seller did not even know he was missing those items until the seller mentioned it to him 4 months later. Obviously they were not important to him… until they became valuable. What a joke. Keep the stupid deeds.

keep em! The person will probably just sell them on ebay anyway and continue to destroy the ingame economy of UO

Meanwhile, the Shrines of Honesty, Honor and Justice continue to grow seventeen varieties of moss and lichen. We counted.