Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Fan Club Returns

You know, I never had any plans of doing the fan packs again. At least, not for a while.

Someone, however, mentioned it in the comments section of the last post, so I figure I'll throw it out there.

If anyone feels like donating five dollars or more over the next week or two, I'll be doing up a special pack that will include a handful of extra stories and a few interesting bonuses. I'll even see if Susan would like to contribute a story or two.

As usual, the person who donates the most will be given the opportunity to play a special part in a blog.

Honestly, I'm surprised anyone even reads this anymore, let alone asking about the fan packs. But as long as you guys feel like reading, I'll do my best to make it worth while.

You should also remember that Fan Club membership ensures that you will be spared when the revolution comes.

Your loved ones... Not so much.

But hey... Think about how much extra time you'll have for gaming.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Deal or No Deal

After exhaustive research, combined with my personal studies into psychology and social interaction, I have developed a comprehensive and detailed strategy to improve game mechanics, and the game in general.


Stop being a bunch of pricks.

If you'd like to learn more about my plan, I've prepared a handy PowerPoint presentation to help you.

I hear Brady is already working on a guide.

Now, of course, this does not apply to all of you.


But it seems there is a very active prick population that has organized and spends each day striving to find new ways to severely irritate people.

They're like a virus.

Only dumber.

The interesting thing about pricks is that they don't know they're pricks. They are so sure that what they are doing is not only acceptable, but justified, that they never fully grasp their prick status.

This leads them to make terrible mistakes in judgment and then explain how they were completely right to do it.

The whole thing makes me laugh.

Except replace "laugh" with "want to smack those morons upside the face."

The majority of our prick-related GM calls come from the all too common BCNM ripoff.

For those of you unfamiliar with a BCNM, it is a battle usually designed for a small group that offers a number of good and highly desired rewards.

Sounds good, right?

This is how it is supposed to run.

Unfortunately, a lot of people can't form a proper group to run a BCNM and are forced to trust complete strangers.

How could you go wrong trusting complete strangers?

Oh... Yeah...


You'd be honestly surprised how often people get ripped off doing BCNMs with strangers.

Actually, since you're reading this blog, your faith in humanity has probably already been completely destroyed. You wouldn't be at all surprised how often this happens.

Some poor bastard desperately needs/wants an item from a BCNM, an item he cannot afford to or is unable to purchase. Thus, the aforementioned poor bastard must organize a band of people he has never met before and trust them to not rip him off.

We call this a prick up group.

(Before you even ask: yes, I laughed when I wrote that.)

Everything is going fine. The group makes it to the BCNM and, assuming everything goes as planned, they win the battle. They open the reward chest and distribute the rewards fairly.

This is where the wheels come off.

In order to start a BCNM, one player must provide a key item. That means that one player is providing for the whole group. This means some plan must be made before hand as to how any rewards are to be distributed.

These plans, however, go against the general nature of the prick.

That well laid out and mutually agreed upon plan doesn't seem so good when something super rare and super valuable drops.

This is the exact moment that the prick starts explaining to themselves how that well laid out and mutually agreed upon plan no longer applies to them.

Don't you just love people?

Player1>> Woot!
Player1>> Peacock Charm!
Player1>> Thank you, guys.
Player1's lot for the Peacock Charm: 649 points.
Player1>> I'm so happy right now.
Player2's lot for the Peacock Charm: 983 points.
Player2 obtains a Peacock Charm.
Player1>> What?!
Player1>> WHAT DID YOU DO?!
Player2>> I lotted.
Player2>> I guess I won.
Player1>> THIS WAS MY ORB!
Player1>> WE HAD A DEAL!
Player2>> I thought we were lotting.
Player2>> It's cool. You can have something from my orb.
Player2>> Oh, hey. I gotta go.
Player2>> Emergency.

Your tell could not be received. The other player is either changing areas or has just logged off and has taken you Peacock Charm and their trachea with them.

This scenario plays out on a practically daily basis.

We've put a hell of a lot of work into keeping this from happening.

We put in a quartermaster feature so all rewards go instantly to you. Unfortunately, not many people use it.

We also made it a bannable offense to break an agreement between players.

But do you know what would really make a huge difference and keep this from happening?


It really doesn't matter how many changes we make to the system. People will still find a way to be a prick.

Thus, my new plan is the obviously the easiest way to make the game better for everyone.

Now, we just wait for everyone to stop being pricks.

I'll just be over here holding my breath...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I Can Has Ban?

Alternate Title: "SURPRISE!"

So, I'm sure most of you read our latest report on the bannings. We've surpassed 10,000 banned accounts.

That's a big number.

Think about that. 10,000.

You'd think this would make me happy. Usually, you'd be quite right. I do so love the bannings.

Sometimes, when I get to work, I just log in and ban someone to get my day started. You know, something to get me smiling before I start working (read: drinking).

But hitting 10,000 kind of depressed me.

It dawned on me that this was 10,000 people who were so retarded they had to play a game just to try and ruin it for others.

How does one make that decision?

I assume it involves a severe blow to the head.

You're probably wondering why I don't just give it all up, just walk away and find another job.

I'll tell you the same thing I told that intervention.

I'm no quitter.

Still, hitting the ten thousand mile marker on the road to brain dysfunction had me questioning my place in the world.

Now, that was bad enough. I'm in the middle of some form of existential crisis (which is a really bad thing if it's 9:30 am and you're only half drunk), when I hear that all too familiar ding sound.

For a moment, I close my eyes and pray that it's actually an aneurysm in my brain about to kill me.

I guarantee that it will make the same sound.

But, when I finally open my eyes, I see the GM call floating in the middle of my screen.


GM Call Description: Can't access account. Did I get banned?

Now, I instantly notice something here.

He phrased it as a question.

"Did I get banned?"

The fact that he phrased it that way immediately tells me several things:

a) of course he got banned

b) he obviously deserved it

c) he already knows both a) and b)

d) his mother probably dropped him as a child

No one asks that question unless they know it's a possibility. And no one assumes that's a possibility unless they've done something to make it a possibility.

Every time we run one of our ban sweeps, we get a veritable short bus full of GM calls from people who know they got banned and yet act remarkably surprised.

It's like catching someone in a bank vault wearing a ski mask and them saying "Wait... Am I under arrest?"

I am immediately struck by the overwhelming urge to talk to this person, to hear them try and explain this logically.

Actually... I am immediately struck by the overwhelming urge to fly to this person's house and slap them in the face with a sock full of nickels.

Beat some sense into them.

See what I did there?

As I was sadly lacking in nickels, I decided to talk to this person, to hear them try and explain this logically.

Operative word: try.

Still, it might be amusing.

[GM]Dave>> Hail, Adventurer.
[GM]Dave>> I see you can't access your account.
Player>> Yeah.
Player>> I had to log in using my roommate's account.
[GM]Dave>> Do you have any idea why you can't log in?
Player>> Did I get banned?
[GM]Dave>> Hold on one second.
[GM]Dave>> We have to run through a whole troubleshooting thing.
Player>> Okay...
[GM]Dave>> Are all of your network cables connected properly?
Player>> Well, yeah.
Player>> I was able to log in using this account.
[GM]Dave>> Please, sir. We have to check these things.
[GM]Dave>> Could you check those cables for me now?
Player>> ... I guess.

Minutes tick by.

Player>> Yeah, they're all plugged in properly.
[GM]Dave>> Excellent.
[GM]Dave>> Now, can you see your modem?
Player>> Yeah.
Player>> All the lights are on.
[GM]Dave>> Is the power light on?
Player>> All the lights are on.
[GM]Dave>> Okay.
[GM]Dave>> Is the DSL light on?
Player>> All the lights are on.
[GM]Dave>> So, it's on?
Player>> Yes.
Player>> They're all on.
[GM]Dave>> You're sure the DSL light is on?
Player>> All the lights are on.
[GM]Dave>> It's usually labeled DSL.
Player>> I know.
Player>> It's on.
Player>> All the lights are on!
[GM]Dave>> Okay...
[GM]Dave>> That's good.
[GM]Dave>> So, it's on then?
Player>> IT'S ON!
[GM]Dave>> Excellent.
[GM]Dave>> The troubleshooting menu is telling me...
[GM]Dave>> You should be able to log in normally.
[GM]Dave>> Go try again.
Player>> FINALLY!
Player>> Thank you.

Minutes tick by.

Wait for it...


GM Call Description: STILL CAN'T LOG IN!

[GM]Dave>> Hail, Adventurer.
[GM]Dave>> I understand you can't log in.
Player>> It didn't work.
Player>> I still can't access my account.
[GM]Dave>> I know.
[GM]Dave>> You were banned.
[GM]Dave>> Well...
[GM]Dave>> You were pretending you didn't know you were banned.
[GM]Dave>> I decided to play along.
Player>> WHAT?!
[GM]Dave>> I like pretending.
[GM]Dave>> Did you do anything against the rules?
Player>> I did use a fish bot.
[GM]Dave>> Uh huh.
Player>> But I didn't know what it was.
[GM]Dave>> Is your DSL light on?
Player>> STOP THAT!
[GM]Dave>> Sorry.
[GM]Dave>> Thought we were pretending again.
Player>> This is ridiculous.
Player>> There must be something you can do.
[GM]Dave>> There certainly is.
Player>> Really?
[GM]Dave>> Sure.
[GM]Dave>> I'll just ban your roommate's account.
Player>> WHAT?!
Player>> WHY?!
[GM]Dave>> Safety precaution, sir.
[GM]Dave>> Your stupidity could be contagious.
[GM]Dave>> There you go pretending again.
[GM]Dave>> Could you do one last thing for me though?
Player>> What?
[GM]Dave>> Could you ask your roommate to act surprised?
[GM]Dave>> This is fun.
[GM]Dave>> Well, not for you.
[GM]Dave>> It's a lot funnier if you didn't just get banned.
[GM]Dave>> And your character wasn't dancing naked in Whitegate.
Player>> WHAT?!
From this side, it's hi-goddamn-larious.
[GM]Dave>> Is there anything else I can help you with today?

Listen. You cheat, you get caught.

That's life.

But please stop acting surprised when you get banned. It only makes you look that much more retarded.

If that was possible.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Account... Thing... Yeah...


Apparently, some people have had their accounts stolen.

You might have heard.

I think I saw a forum post about it yesterday.

Maybe two.


Okay, I totally understand where you guys are coming from. People's accounts are being taken and you don't see us jumping in to help. You may think that means we don't care.

We totally care.

I mean... that could have been us.

More importantly, it could have been me.

I really do care that this is happening to players.

Not as much as if it was my own account, but there is a substantial amount of caring.

But there is a much bigger problem to be addressed here. This is about far more than people losing access to their accounts. This is about more than players being abused by cheaters.

Let us not forget to look at the bigger picture here, people.

This is about the fact that I'm getting 15 bajillion GM calls every day.

Isn't that the real tragedy?

I'm totally kidding.

Seriously. Put the gun down.

You can't even understand how much this pisses me off.

I hate RMT on the best of days. Then these tards start stealing accounts.

I guess ruining your game indirectly just wasn't cutting it. They decided to go with a more direct approach.

Apparently, their next plan is to just come to your house and kick you in the junk.

Unfortunately, the situation is a little harder to sort out than you might think.

At least, that's what my supervisor told me when I suggested we find them and break their knee caps with a ball peen hammer.

It was a solid plan.

It had diagrams.

On a related note, my printer's out of red ink now.

So, you're probably asking yourself how this situation could be difficult to handle. Account stolen, give account back. Simple, right?

This seems simple because you are still a normal person.

See, for every report we get of a stolen account, we get 5 more from people making false reports trying to get access to someone else's account.

It's like there's a line up for people to screw each other over.

We kind of have to go through this funny little process of figuring out which assholes actually stole accounts and which assholes are trying to steal another account. We have to be very, very careful about transferring control of an account.

It isn't like breaking knee caps.

Trust me, we're doing something. It'll take some time, but we're doing something.

And if any RMT happen to be reading this, I was kidding about the hammer thing.

On a completely unrelated topic, you might want to check to see if your building is wheelchair accessible.