||Kung Fu Justice
||April 9, 2005
There was so much real news happening this week, I didn't have time to learn Korean and translate a whole bunch of crap about obscure Korean MMOs. I had it set into my day planner: 5:00 - Dinner, 5:45 - Nap, 6:30 - Learn Korean, 7:00 - Use Korean to translate stuff. But that half hour vanished into English coverage. Oh well. Maybe over the weekend.
Picture this: two MMORPGamers who play the Asian-style, action-packed MMORPG Legend of Mir 3 are pretty good friends in real life, and share various items. One of the two then wins a legendary weapon and lends it to his partner. The partner then sells the sword for the US equivalent of about $870. What does the original winner of the sword do then? Why, he does what any of us would do; he stabs his former friend in the chest. And no, not in the game--he really went to the guy's house and stabbed him to death.
Such was the case when Qiu Chengwei killed Zhu Caoyuan after Zhu sold Qiu's "dragon saber." Qiu told the police of this, but was told that property was not protected by the law. Hearing this, rage brewed within Qiu and he decided it was time for some Kung Fu Justice. Unfortunately for Qiu, Kung Fu Justice is something for which the police can punish someone. After stabbing Zhu in the left chest "with great force," ultimately leading to Zhu's death, Qui gave himself up to police and plead guilty to "intentional injury."
This is yet another case of whether or not virtual property should have a place in the law. This particular case puzzles me, because in another case, a player of Hongyue won a court case against Beijing Arctic Ice in 2003. The player's case was that items were hacked from his account, and the company would not replace them, but he won them back in court, since he had spent about $1,200 obtaining them. What do you think of all this? Email me and let me know. I'll post your letters in the column.
Taking a page from the playbook of Qiu Chengwei, Sony Online Entertainment banned over 700 cheaters recently, as if to say, "your MMO-fu is pretty good, but ours is better." Accounts found to be using bots and illegal macros were the specific targets in this bust, according to the press release.
"We'd like to thank our EverQuest II customers for all of their reports in rounding up these crews, and helping us show them they're not welcome in Norrath," said EverQuest II Senior Producer and MMO-fu blackbelt Scott Hartsman. "A few hundred 'bot subscriptions just aren't worth the money when compared to keeping the game fun for hundreds of thousands of people."
It's been a while since I've done one of these sections. Let's reach our hand in and check the waters of a few MMO communities, starting with The Matrix Online. The most recent issue of the game's official newsletter is jam-packed with what sounds like exciting stuff (and this is coming from a guy who is anti-Matrix). On April 6th, an event called "The Race to Find The One" started. Here's what the newsletter says about it:
"Missing and presumed dead, the One nevertheless remains a symbol of peace for those who would believe. Led by Morpheus, these true believers are ridiculed for their fervent search for Neo's remains.
"While the Merovingian mocks Morpheus's search, his lieutenants seem strangely intent on shadowing his every move; and despite the common belief that the Machines retain the One's body, automated trace programs devote unusual attention to every iteration of Neo's name. Rumors spread of inexplicable emanations within the Matrix, granting vast power to those who can find and control them. Within the Matrix, where there is power, there is strife. Only one Organization will rise triumphant. Will it be the Machines with their surgical precision and dogged commitment to the preservation of balance? The Zionites with their devout duty to protect Zion at all costs? Or the Exiles with their calculated cunning and masterful manipulations?" Which faction will triumph? If you play Matrix Online, email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us how these events went.
In addition to that, Data Node One reported on chaotic happenings withing the game. This message was sent to all players two nights ago:
"[Attention: Prepare for new orders]
[Attention: Prepare for new orders]
[Attention: Prepare for new orders]
System resources indicate the presence of illegal fragments.
Humans cannot be permitted to possess this contraband.
You will comply with the following directives.
Cease all activities.
Immediately travel to the nearest hardline.
Surrender all contraband fragments.
Humans are no longer welcome in the Matrix.
We will be disabling hardlines.
We will neutralize your auto-jackout.
Opposing these directives will result in permanent death.
If you do not surrender all contraband fragments, and remove yourself from the Matrix… You will be destroyed.
You have exactly twelve hours to comply with these directives.
Resistance is useless.
Platoon leaders will be deployed to ensure your compliance.
There is nowhere you can hide your contraband from the system."
[End of Message]
Players of EverQuest II are experiencing a nasty case of what is being called "The Plague" after the release of Sony Online's most recent update. While The Plague is highly contagious with a visible affect, it is not believed to be life threatening. The source of this disease is unknown, and only the joint efforts of adventurers and artisans will be able to cure the people of Norrath. Unlicensed salesmen are expected to offer "remedies," but players are advised to be wary of both their prices and the effects. SOE urges players, "A universal cure needs to be found!"
Blizzard Entertainment has announced that an additional 250,000 copies of World of Warcraft will be available in retail stores across Europe on April 15. This new shipment of boxes follows the sales of more than 620,000 copies in Europe since its launch on February 11.
"The success of World of Warcraft has proven our belief in Europe as a strong online gaming market", said Mike Morhaime, president of Blizzard Entertainment. "We are delighted to now be in a position to provide more boxes to retail and to welcome more players into the game."
As part of a new initiative, players will find a ten-day Guest Pass in each box, which will allow them to invite a friend to play World of Warcraft with them as part of a free, ten-day trial. At the end of the trial period, the guest will be able to continue playing with his existing character by, of course, purchasing the game.
After months of relative silence, Middle Earth Online is back on the radar. The game's official site now has a Dev Diary. The diary contains inside information and the ability to sound post your own comments on each installment. Visit here to check it out.
NCsoft his holding three contests to celebrate the first birthday of City of Hereos. One involves remixing songs from the game, another asks players to write about an experience in the game that made the player feel like a real hero, and the third is asking graphic artists to design a City of Heroes postcard. Prizes include powerful video cards, City of Heroes apparel, and much more. Dig those rules and regulations.
Here's a new Guild Wars movie, which ArenaNet just released today. The central figures are the NPCs Devona, Cynn, and Aiden. Watch the movie here, then visit the game's official website.
This week, Gungho announced that Ragnarok
Online broke the one million subscriber mark. First
open for official service back in December of 2002, the game hit
850,000 accounts during beta testing, and has boasted over
100,000 players online at once.
Thanking players for sticking with it, the developers are holding a Ragnarok
lottery, raffling off rare items. Additionally, between April 12th and
19th, all players get EXP bonuses.
Sega has announced that The Matrix Online will release across Europe on Friday April 15. As a result of the new release date, the European pre-order beta period will be extended. European players who have successfully registered a preorder key will have until 11:59 PM PST on April 15 to register their accounts with a retail CD key to avoid any interruption in their service.
"Typhan" sent me some pictures of his new Final Fantasy XI Linkshell. He said, "these pics
are of some members of me and my Final Fantasy XI LinkShell members. We had
just moved to a new LS, and so we had to have a grand-opening party, no?
They were taken in the back of the Gardens in Jeuno. In the top pictures you
can see me on the far right, and in a couple of pictures near the bottom you
can see me rather visibly on the far left. I hope you enjoy them!
My LS is excited to be featured! I'll be sure to send more
sometime soon! Oh and so credit goes to the right place, Burne, who is seen
in [pic #2], is the one who took the pictures."
Gabriel Ang delighted my screen-hungry inbox with five ROSE Online screens, one of which he took of an interface glitch. Very thoughtful of you, Gabe ^_^
Wanna show the world some personal highlights from your favorite MMORPGs? Take some screenshots and email them to email@example.com.
An old friend and former coworker wrote a letter in response to Square Enix launching that Final Fantasy XI "come back" campaign, announced in last week's column.
Why must Square Enix toy with me? I've been doing so well: I quit FFXI
December (I think), composing a lot more than I had been in the past,
actually finishing (most of) my school work on time.
Then they announce they're trying to lure back their lost flock with
temptations of free service for a month.
Good God, I scolded a friend for returning a week ago after he quit in
January. He told me how the auction house was all messed up now, with
inflation and dirt cheap gil on the real-life market. And that it was
on the server from which we emigrated.
I had been doing so well, Heath. I cut back all my extra, unnecessary
routines. I left RPGamer, retired from remixing, stopped drinking
which I'm most proud), started studying and reading and enriching my
Now I'm being tempted by the dark side again.
I don't even like the damn game, and I already have my sights set on
rejoining. It's just so damn...addicting. I implore you: please...
me to do otherwise.
After all, remember '< Boston > did it all for Heath.' ;)
--Patrick 'Trick' Waters
You want me to talk you down from re-entering FFXI? No problem *cracks knuckles*
(Note: I know FFXI has its good points. Email me whining all you like, but I'm not about to try and sell someone into a game he expressly doesn't want to rejoin.)
- Final Fantasy XI is boring...really boring. Want worthwhile content updates in your expansion packs? Don't look here. Zilart was nice, but take a look at Promathia compared to other MMOs expansion packs. Compare it to, oh, say, Dark Age of Camelot: Catacombs, which introduced DAoC to entirely new ways to solo, instanced dungeons, better rewards, an amazing character model overhaul, and more. That expansion made DAoC worth playing and worth paying for. Similarly, EverQuest II recently added more experience to small groups and solo players, as well as adding a new mail system that even allows players to send messages to old friends in the original EverQuest. Meanwhile, the FFXI dev team is hard at work on the game's FISHING. Whoopdee-freaking-doo.
- To borrow a quote from LiQuid of our message boards, "the ability to play musical guilds is what makes FFXI's community suck ass." Indeed it does. Most of the guilds in FFXI are weak and comparable to social cliques in elementary school. You know--how you'll hang out with certain people for a little while, but come junior high, you never talk to some of them anymore? Like that. Linkshells break up all the friggin' time. This happens once in a while in other games, sure; that's inevitable. But magnify the effect by like 7,000x in FFXI; you really can't be sure that the people you're playing with now are the people you'll be playing with in three months.
- People from San 'dOria
- The Valkurm Dunes
- Pay two bucks per every charcter after the first? That's stupid. Other games, such as Dark Age of Camelot, Ultima Online, World of Warcraft, and others let you go nuts creating characters--and on more than one freaking server. Nono, not in FFXI. You pick a server, you're pretty much stuck there.
- Clunky, poor implementation of the job system. It's like spitting in the face of previous Final Fantasy titles.
- PlayOnline's ultra-terrible interface, load times, required updates, and all that jazz. The whole system is the lamest thing since MC Hammer.
- No love for the Thief.
- Hardly any visual customization of avatars.
- The Chrono team develops and maintains FFXI. Give them the finger by not playing FFXI. If everyone does it, maybe it will free up enough time to cut the crap and make another Chrono title.
Well, I hope that list of nearly every bad point in the game helps you maintain your willpower and keep out of Vana'dhell. Thanks for the letter, Patrick. Stay strong! Boston can beat this thing!
Letters this week should be about that first story up there: vitrual property and the law. What's your take? Should the loss of such things be entirely private, or should the law get involved? Tell what you think.
Feel free to write about other stuff, too. Play WoW in Europe? Have the bannings helped EQ2? Do you care about Middle Earth Online? Shout about anything. Screens are always good too.
P.S. It was 70 degrees earlier this week! Rena can finally dress for Spring!
My every word's your every breath, all my jokes laugh you to death, and Heath Hindman's kung fu is your meth