August 2007

The Game Within The Game Within The Game

Shacknews gets a typically weird interview with The Mitanni, the Markus Wolf of Eve’s Goonswarm. It also serves as a good overview of Eve’s chaotic metagame to the outside observer.

Though The Mittani may miss out on the fun of participating in a fleet action, quietly shuffling pieces across the starlit board brings its own reward. “If you’re even mildly sadistic, or at least enjoy seeing the lamentations of people you dislike, this job is amazing fun,” he explains while showing me a copy of Lotka Volterra’s private forums, pointing out a few particularly amusing deceptions. He refers to his “job” as a “meta-game,” a game-within-a-game. Like the Men in Black, he is above the system–beyond the system. Anonymity is his name; the GoonSwarm battle cry of “fofofo” his native tongue.

Where The Only Thing You Feel Are Loaded /Tells In Your Chat, And You Have To Deal With Pressure!

Amber Night interviews Mia Rose, who manages not to sneak in a link to her Myspace page anywhere within the article.

I never deny what I do if I’m asked, but this doesn’t mean I go around saying “hey look at me, look at me and my ass.” Honestly. And not once did I say that I don’t like the attention. Because it’s obvious that I love it. I think you need to in my line of work. But the outbursts from these people I have never met that are degrading, hurtful, and childish are 100% uncalled for. I am human, and I will defend myself. Call it spamming if you will, but ask yourself how you would deal with this if you were in my position?

Everything I know about porn I learned from Boogie Nights, so, admittedly, much of this is new to me. Still, methinks when you name your primary character your pornstar name, and then makes sure in repeated forum posts that yes you are THAT person, and everyone knows you were the person who put on the elf ears and made with the emotes, you might want to rethink the whole demanding anonymity thing. Still, an interesting alternate viewpoint.

But We’ll Always Have Tarren Mill

whorecraft.jpgJust when you think the strange and terrible story of Whores of Warcraft (now just called “WhoreLore” since, I suppose, Blizzard might get their Paladin Epic Armor in a knot over, you know, having their Warcraft trademark appropriated by fine art) was almost just about over with everyone chuckling embarassedly and then averting their eyes, followed shortly by the banninating of real honest-to-god undead warlock/riot grrl Mia Rose from WoW chat for excessive literacy, now we have WHORES OF WARCRAFT II: THE PR0N STARLET STRIKES BACK.

Truth is, we weren’t all that nice. We were sarcastic; but then again we’re always sarcastic. We really didn’t buy Mia’s story about her banning. We implied that there was a lot more to it than she was telling the world. Oh, and I called her “ugly”.

Well, Mia found out about it. Mia is pissed. Mia is commenting. And Mia’s shit is so damn funny, I couldn’t help but tell you all about it. Here’s the post on our site by “Miarosexxx”:

And it goes on. Oh me oh my, does it go on. But if you take anything away from this, anything at all, take away this:

Mia is fighting for her DIGNITY as the best epic mount ever.


I hope that everyone is suitably cleared up now, and I suspect that this post will attract about 80 million spam comments asking you to buy V1agrA.

Of Publishers, Developers, Gods and Heroes

SOE and Perpetual Entertainment announced that SOE was no longer publishing Gods and Heroes. Except, wait, they are, sort of! Are you confused? Do you need a score card? Fear not, I am here to pontificate on things I only dimly understand myself.

First off, for those that are unfamiliar: the developer is the company that actually creates the game itself. For example, World of Warcraft was developed by Blizzard, but published by Vivendi. City of Heroes was developed by Cryptic Studios, but published by NCsoft.

Now, what publishers do is a bit more complex, and changes from publisher to publisher. For example, in World of Warcraft’s case, Vivendi did very little other than press CDs, (presumably) pay for marketing and, well, count money. Blizzard handles their own customer service, live teams, server hosting, and also now sells the game’s expansion themselves online. Blizzard is almost but not quite a self publisher; when you get millions of subscribers you start to get the economy of scale necessary to do everything.

At the other end of the scale is the relationship between Cryptic and NCsoft for City of Heroes. City of Heroes servers are hosted at NCsoft, and NCsoft handles the billing, technical support, and customer service, leaving Cryptic to add new content via game patches. This is handy for small development teams that don’t want to worry about hiring GMs and figuring out credit card chargebacks, but it also usually means they get less of a share in the game’s revenue. And of course, some publishers also have development teams (such as SOE and Everquest, and NCsoft and Tabula Rasa).

So, what appears to have happened is that the agreement between Perpetual and SOE on what SOE would bring to the table for Gods and Heroes changed. Now why that is could be several different reasons, all of which are duly wending their way through the rumorsphere (SOE didn’t want their name on Gods and Heroes! Perpetual didn’t want SOE’s name on Gods and Heroes! The game sucks and SOE wanted out! The game rocks and Perpetual wanted it themselves!) but truthfully, at this point, and from my totally-kibitzing-from-the-sidelines vantage point, like most changes in contracts, it is most likely about money. And the who, why and how on that will most likely never see the light of day, and what’s more, would probably bore the pants off anyone not directly involved.

At any rate, it’s grist for discussion – as more money pours into the MMO space, you’ll see lots more backroom dealings like this. Hopefully with cigar smoke – that makes everything better.

Girls Who Like Boys Whose Wives Are Unamused

Wall Street Journal takes time out of its busy day reporting on the incipient collapse of the mortgage market to pose the question: in Second Life, is this man cheating on his wife? Complete with helpful chart!

Their bond is so strong that three months ago, Mr. Hoogestraat asked Janet Spielman, the 38-year-old Canadian woman who controls the redhead, to become his virtual wife.

The woman he’s legally wed to is not amused.

Of course, World of Warcraft forum readers have seen this all before.