||September 10, 2005
So I packed up and drove from Pennsylvania to Utah. My new living situation has brought some interesting stories and increased vocabulary, the first of my new terms being "Renegade DJ." I learned it like this...
You see, behind our house, somewhere on the block, we often hear these...beats. No vocals or anything, just techno-style sounds. Most of the time, we don't hear a whole song, just parts, then the whole mix later. The other night was an exception. We heard tons of songs, one after another, even with our windows shut. I had no problem with this, because I keep it real, but my housemate felt differently. Here's a dialogue:
Whiny Housemate: Do you hear that music?
Heath: The concert going on behind the house? No. I have no idea what you're talking about.
Whiny Housemate: Who's playing that? This can't be legal.
Heath: Just some band or party. I'm not worried about it.
Whiny Housemate: I think our neighbor is some kind of renegade DJ or something.
Heath: (Thinks silently for a few seconds.) I've never heard of a "renegade DJ" until right now, but I'm damn honored to have one living so close to me.
Whiny Housemate: I think I should call the cops.
Heath: I think you should shut up and let the man play his beats.
Other titles I considered giving this story:
Asheron Calls, No One Answers
Asheron Leaves Breakup Message
No One Calls for Asheron
Asheron 2, Called
Asheron Calls it Quits
The Asheron You Have Called is No Longer in Service. Please Hang Up and Try Again.
No Dialtone Over at Asheron 2's Place. Calls Not Received.
"Hi, this is Asheron 2. I'm not here, so leave a message. Also, I'm not gonna be returning Calls after December 10 cause Turbine's cancelling me. Love you!"
You may have heard by now, but last month, a man in Korea literally played World of Warcraft till he died. The man sat down in front of the last computer he would ever operate in a cyber cafe in Taegu and logged into World of Warcraft.
He proceeded to sit there and play the game for 50 hours. 50. Not 5, not 10, not 20 or 49. 50 hours. He didn't eat, sleep, or go to the bathroom for this period of time. He also presumably didn't do what I normally do in Korean cyber cafes, which is try to help struggling Korean girls with their games and then hit them up for dates. That's too bad, cause in 50 straight hours, he probably could have met someone really nice. Anyway, he obviously didn't go to work in this time period, because that would have to involve getting up. A hero like Lee couldn't be caught doing such foolish things.
Lee's mother grew concerned after a while and sent former coworkers to look for him. From a transcript sent exclusively to MMORPGamer, here is how the encounter went down:
Park, Lee's Coworker: "Hey Lee, you gotta come home, man."
Little did anyone know, something had happened in the cafe prior to Lee's playing the game. Attack ninjas from... somewhere where attack ninjas live... showed up and tried to destroy the place, but Lee fought them off. In the process, he was hit with the deadly "Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique." Look that up if you don't know what it is. Lee had used three of his five steps left till death in getting to his computer, so when he got up to leave, it wasn't long till he fell down dead. Now, it's my pleasure to print these "Children's Letters to Lee." Don't ask me how I got these.
Children's Letters to Lee
I love games too, but my mommy told me that it's not healthy to play for too long. She sayz I could die from heart failure and exhaustion. Is that true?
You are my hero! I want to be just like you when I grow up! First I wanted to be a fireman like my daddy, but he's not really contributing to society or supporting his family the way a champion like you can.
Quick question: what were you thinking?
What I love about you is that you NEVER give up! You inspire me! Gogogo!
What I loved most about Lee was his firm resolve. When he set out to do something, he wasn't satisfied till it was FINISHED. He truly never backed down. Go to work? Nah, just don't tell anyone you quit and play games for 50 hours. Give anyone your wereabouts or interact with any real humans during this time? Screw that.
Hats off to you, Lee. You were the only man I knew who could be a real winner while simultaneously being a total loser.
Before the news comes the plug: Fileplanet has a free trial of Shadowbane downloadable. Those that get it can play free for 25 days. That's almost 26 days, people.
So one thing I noticed a lot of in my inbox when I came back from my hiatus was a stack of Shadowbane newletters up to my waist. I guess Ashen Temper has been keeping busy rather well these days. So strap in for a list of the updates. Or don't strap in if you don't want to; I hear those seatbelts kill more people than they save:
-An idiot's guide to Shadowbane lore
-Discussion of the Loreplayer server
-Big ol' content patch
-Fan movie by "Darkstar"
Word at the water cooler is that Shadowbane is moving and shaking. It was recently listed as on of the top 50 downloads at Fileplanet. Didn't see that one coming, did ya?
Ah yes, our weekly look at EverQuest II because I'm totally biased. Sony has loaded EQ2 with a method of donating to the Red Cross in support of hurricane Katrina victims. A /donate command is in place, and typing it takes players to a seperate page on which a credit donation can be made. Members of SOE's other games are encouraged to hit this link.
For affected players, of which SOE reports over 13,000, billing is suspended until they can play again. Items that decay over time, like houses and such, will be preserved for now and resume aging when the player next logs in.
Dark Age of Camelot devs, in their own words, "we’re struggling to find some small way that we can help besides the basic and obvious 'donate to the Red Cross' stuff." So now, no one pays rent on houses from now till October. The plan is for rent to come back with the Darkness Rising patch, but Mythic says that may change.
MMO superpower NCsoft is also in the fight, in a way. The official websites of most NC-published games are linking to The Network for Good, and I understand that players of some (possibly all) of these titles sent notices to players about the matter. Meanwhile, Square Enix has linked to the network from its PlayOnline site.
Didn't we just talk about NCsoft? Oh well. Hey, there's a collector's package for City of Villains due out at the same time as the regular edition later this fall. According to NCsoft's press release, it will feature "a DVD version of the game, giving players access to an exclusive in-game cape and chest emblem from Arachnos, the game's top villain group." Also included will be a map of the Rogue Isles (the island chain where the game takes place), and art book, a preview of the upcoming City of Heroes card game, and a City of Heroes foil collector card. This puppy will retail for $79.99.
Blizzcon is apparently gonna rule. The community site is packed with news about the con, including the announcement of movie and costume contests as well as the revelation that the game's first expansion will be on display for the lucky attendees. And wow, what a nerd the guy that ordered up this cake must be. What's fairly hypocritical about that comment is that I say it while wearing my Dark Age of Camelot T-shirt.
Mondain's Legacy is now available to Ultima Online players. I heard through the grapevine there were a few bugs in the pack interacting with some of the Tokuno content, but I haven't been able to play Ultima Online lately (what with the move and all), so I can't confirm that one.
So now that the column is totally back, it's totally time to start sending screens again. Let's get busy!
A letter sent while I was gone.
Fear of Commitment Wasn't Created for No Reason
I have played a couple of MMOs in my day and I have no problem with
paying $14 a month to play, as you stated it is a much better deal than
renting a movie for $4 or more. The one problem I do have is when I'm
paying for an MMO such as World Of Warcraft but I'm not actually able to
play it. This has been my situation for the last couple of months.
Shortly after one of the patch releases I, along with thousands of
others, began to be plagued with a specific error. Blizzard Tech support
being the helpful people that they are blamed it on our machines. The
claimed that our machines couldn't handle some of the "improvements" in
their code. It has been over 2 months and there still has been no solid
fix for this problem. Virtually everyone with the problem is running on
an AMD processor, because we are in the minority Blizzard seems to be
choosing to ignore us. For the first little while they actually
responded to posts on the WoW Tech Support forum but now they seem to
simply ignore them. The only way to fix this problem currently is to
UnderClock my machine AND run in Single-Channel mode. This is absolutely
ludacris to ask me to do this just to play this game. I suppose that
will teach me to go for the 6 month subscription plan next time.
Rock on, and all that good stuff.
Ouch man. Yeah I hit up a 3-month plan once for an MMO, but the 6-month deal I just can't bring myself to commit to, for the reasons you mentioned. That and hey, I could be killed in a drive-by shooting at any moment, so I'd like to leave my family with that extra $70 or whatever if I could. Oh wait, I forgot, I live in Provo, Utah now, instead of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. So I guess the drive by shooting is a bad example. You get the idea though.
Well, lemme know how that all works out for ya. Serious downer, man.
So after the 3,000 mile trip or whatever, the duct tape on my car has held, but the brakes apparently have reached their limit. They were squeaking horridly while driving around and it was pretty embarassing...until I was like "no, I'm going to embrace this." So for the last two days I've been cruising Utah in my duct tape-covered, squaky, teal Geo Tracker. I just put my windows down, blast some ska, and point at anyone who looks at me. I'm pretty much the king of Utah. What's funnier is after getting a $400+ estimate on how much it would cost to get my break system fixed, I immediately resolved to completely ignore the problem, and now the squeaking has stopped. I haven't noticed any loss of power or gas mileage, so I think the problem has solved itself...or something. How much does that rule?
Also, I know this column is short. If you'd like to complain, go nuts. I'd love to test out the new katana I bought in an Asian-themed gift shop on the way here.
-Did Heath Hindman remember to thank you? No? ...He will.