Storm in a blogcup: Warhammer

A few years back we had EA Spouse.

Now we have EA Louse on why Warhammer Online failed.

I haven’t had time to read my RSS feed and see how long this has been causing ripplets across the blogosphere and forums. To be honest, I’m not sure I much care.

For one thing we have no idea if this is legit, but the rant is entertaining. More importantly, however, it’s the by now oh-so-familiar threnody of the worker bee in the gaming and MMO industry. They’re treated for crap and most people who read blogs or are even slightly informed (go read Scott Jennings) know this. The vast majority of gamers have no clue and probably wouldn’t care if they did, being like the vast majority of normal people, to whit: selfish and self-absorbed.

Sadly, this probably will not change the culture of exploitation and managerial self-interest that’s rampant in the MMO development industry – a culture that happens to be rampant in most industries and would be called, by some pundits, “good capitalism.”

I’m not going to get into my feelings about capitalism and exploitation here, this is a gaming blog.

Anyway, go read it. It’s entertaining. It may be eye-opening. It’s biased, of course, but aren’t we all?

Innocence abroad

Harbinger Zero asked me to post my humiliation for all to see, so here it is.

This is how I got scammed in Jita, in EVE Online, a couple of days ago.

.

The Setting

Non-EVErs should know that Jita is the Ironforge of the EVE universe — it’s permanently packed (1300+ people when I was there) and it’s permanently full of sales spam, smack talk, and of course scammers.

It’s actually a pretty short story, and one I should have known better than to fall for, both as a reasonably smart individual and as a 10+ year (argh!) MMO player.

.

The Scam

Some player, let’s call them LadyMolo to avoid giving them publicity but still remain relatively true to the name, was claiming to be leaving the game for RL reasons and therefore wanted to give her money away.  If you come from a more recent MMO generation you might instantly think “Ohh right, one of those scams. What a crock!” But back in the day of walking uphill barefoot both ways in the snow to get our levels, people who left games often did give away their virtual-worldly goods. I’ve done it myself a time or two.

Anyway, LadyMolo kept spamming chat with “I”m leaving blah blah blah, send me X amount and I’ll send you back three times as much!” And here’s the kicker to rope in suckers like me: “Send a small amount first to test me!”

I was only in Jita to pick up some goods I could sell back home in Verge Vendor for twice the price, and I wanted to get in, get my shit, and get out again as fast as possible. I don’t like crowds much in RL and I don’t like crowds in virtual space either. (People either get that or they don’t. It bugs the hell out of me when someone stands in my face in an MMO, and I’ve had long debates with friends and acquaintances who just don’t get the concept of personal space when it’s virtual space. Maybe it’s a female thing. /end digression) Text that scrolls so fast you can barely read it — though 99.99% of it isn’t worth reading anyway — is a pain in the backside. And, generally, swimming in a tiny pool full of carnivorous fish ready to blast you just because they don’t like the cut of your jib — so not my thing.

Even so, in the short time it took me from entering the system to docking at the station with the goods I wanted, I saw enough of the scam to be intrigued. I checked my personal wallet and thought, Hrm, I could make a few million extra profit here!

Dollar signs went cha-ching in my eyes. I sent the person 2 million ISK (which is barely enough to get a cup of coffee at EVE-Starbucks these days).

A few seconds later, I get 6 million back. And that of course is how the suckers are hooked and landed.

Fortunately, gullible though I may be, I’m not entirely idiotic. I just sent back the 6 mill I’d got. And waited. And waited. And waited — along with an increasingly vocal group of other marks. A few minutes later LadyMolo logged off, never to be seen again.

Surprise!

.

The Mark

Being scammed isn’t humiliating — but standing up for the scammer certainly is. And I did. I bought not only the scam but the story, and defended the scammer to others. Aieee.

But while my MMO persona is humiliated and vowing never to fall for anything ever again, my RL persona doesn’t really mind. For one thing, I didn’t “invest” (positive spin, see?) anything I couldn’t afford to lose. Sure, Ysharros’ personal wallet is pretty flat now but you can pretty much spit and make a couple of mill in EVE even without combat, so it’s not such a big deal.

If anything — like with the almost-got-killed incident — I’m amused at my own perpetual gullibility and at the cleverness of the scam. It was just believable enough for some of us to get conned. It was the usual “put in a little, get out a lot, do it  again sucker!” con that anyone who’s been following financial news in the last couple of decades will be aware of — myself included. But reading about a scam and thinking how you’d never get taken in, and being the mark of a scam are two entirely different things.

At the end of the day, as I’ve said before, I don’t mind being gullible. Being cynical is only a veneer for me, and if I were a cynical old cow to the core I’d probably be unhappier. Miserable and rich isn’t something I particularly aspire to, in games or in life.

.

Lessons learned

1. I still hate Jita. I’d only been there once in my previous EVE stints, and I don’t intend to go back if I can possibly help it. For the record, I loathed Ironforge too.

2. Never invest what you can’t afford to lose. EVE and other PvP games are pretty much all about those rules if you don’t want to get horribly burned and be scarred forever more. I didn’t hand over much, I didn’t get taken for more than I initially handed over, so it wasn’t too painful or costly a lesson. (A few marks sent over 100-200 million ISK — to me that’s a ginormous fortune, though I know people regularly deal with billions in EVE these days, probably including the not-nearly-so-gullible Stabs.)

3. Quit while you’re ahead. This is why I don’t gamble.

.

Sountrack: It’s yer money I’m after baby — The Wonder Stuff. (NME will even let you see a video… provided you’re not in the US.)

* Yes, I know I’m misquoting my title. See what I did thar?

Make mine a double

bourbon1Let’s have a nice large helping of blogger drama to start the working week. No, I shouldn’t keep stirring the pot. But it’s early, I’ve not had a lot of coffee yet, and I’m going to stick my own very small oar in the “he said, she said” mix. Tobold’s oar is the size of the freakin’ Titanic, so he wins by default.

Tobold is not pleased to be mentioned on Twitter. By this I am assuming he’s referring to the bantering that went on a few days ago regarding several posts on his blog, and by the resulting LfGCV posts.

I’m sure the incoming traffic the various posts generated was fine, as long as we don’t, you know, have the temerity to actually say anything.

And apparently those of us who got his Gevlon joke and appreciated his puzzlement with the fact that people comment far more on the fluff than they do on our opus magnae are just nasty trolls who would never have made it past the comment moderation over there.

I appreciate not liking to find out that third-hand people have written about one. However, Tobold obviously doesn’t mind the incoming links people send him — like the three just in this one post. So what does he mind? Not having any facetious mention cleared with him beforehand?

Newsflash: if I hated Tobold’s stuff and thought he wasn’t worth reading, I would. not. link. to. him. That shouldn’t be too hard to understand.

So why are my panties now in a bunch? Because a) it was harmless fun, b) if you hear rumours it pays to check them out before going off on one, c) I dislike being told off from on high in that passive-aggressive fashion so common to bloggers (and which I’m using now, but at least I’m linking), and d) the whole martyr things gets a little fucking old. Really. We’re on your bloody side, Tobold. Or were.

I get that Tobold is a much bigger blogger than I could ever be, and I get that Tobold is an internet celebrity, and I guess that means I have to get that he’s far too important to check facts or ever visit anyone else’s blog. That does not give him the right to get mean about random folks because he’s pissed with blogging in general.

Sure, I should have kept quiet. But why? Apparently I’m an evil troll and this place is the only place I can express myself in an unmoderated fashion. And you know what? Apart from the evil troll bit, it’s true. This is MY place. If I want to make a joke, I can. I am not a cruel person and I don’t make fun of people intentionally when I don’t think they’ll like it. The stupidity of this is that all we did was agree with Tobold and drive traffic his way.

I should have enemies like that. Seriously.

She’s not a feminist, but…

I don’t mean to keep using other people’s articles as fake posts of my own, but if you read one thing about women in MMOs, this should be it. It says everything I’d say except the author remains calm and rational throughout, whereas I’d probably end up foaming at the mouth… or trying too hard to convince.

When something is right, you don’t need to froth to pass the message.

Archetypes of the Female Gamer, Revisited — and the first paragraph to whet your appetite.

Shock. Frustration. Anger. Despair.

Before last week, these are words I never would have connected to my experience with World of Matticus, either as a writer or a reader. However, last week Lodur’s article on guild Egoists just left me cold. I’ve invoked these four words to let you the readers know what powerful effect such things can have, in the short term at least. Over the weekend I did a lot of reading and a lot of thinking, and I think I’m finally ready to explain why a recitation of stereotypes about women disturbed me so much. First of all, I would like to say that I mean Lodur no disrespect. I am quite sure that his intentions were good, and in his own mind, his article is not even about women.

Read more:http://www.worldofmatticus.com/2009/08/05/archetypes-of-the-female-gamer-revisited/#ixzz0NJslUDOo

EDIT — and to the “there’s a grain of truth in every stereotype” response, I’d like to say this. A grain of truth does not the entire beach make. Sometimes I drink too much and go over the legal limit — that doesn’t make me a hardened criminal, even less so an alcoholic. Not a great analogy, but it serves the purpose well enough especially since it illustrates, I hope, the fact that you can’t take part of a thing and make a hard and fast rule about the whole thing. That way lies sophistry. More to the point, why is it bad when women display stereotypical behaviour  but not when men do? Yes, that’s a rhetorical question.

In gaming or anywhere else, it’s wise to examine one’s assumptions. Stereotypes are nothing but assumptions and while they have their uses, they’re extremely limited as tools for predicting (or even meaningfully illustrating) human — or gamer — behaviour.

Related reading, thanks to Unwize: The Science of Gender and Science (Debate)

EDIT 2 — in real life, I translate project documents and other such stuff for various humanitarian agencies working in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Many of the projects there have a Gender component. It’s sobering — and in some ways heartening — to realise that I can sit here and rant about debate gender issues in the comfort of my own home and with very little risk of being summarily raped and beaten by some passing soldier (or civilian) next time I set foot out of my house. Everything is relative.

I can rant just as well as you can, Dmitri!

Openedge1, never a stranger to bubbling, hissing, cauldron-fed polemic, has made a post guaranteed to get crafting players like me frothing at the mouth. Better yet, he does it with wit, which is always essential to any good rant. Never one to pass up an opportunity for ready-made response content, here I am.

merkin

I have only one thing to say to that post, as well as to the various responses cropping up. By all means, remove crafting from games! Actually, remove the damned combat, the stupid item grind, the ridiculous BS that is grey/vendor loot, the repetitive life- and soul-sucking inanity that is raids, and just leave me to craft away in peace.

{Here, have some popcorn. I just made a batch, because I’m a CRAFTER.}

Why exactly is it that stuff one doesn’t like has to disappear off the face of the earth?

Oh yeah — tolerance makes for boring blog posts, and it’s useless for rants. So.

DOWN WITH ADVENTURING AND ADVENTURERS! Kick em all in the nads and send the murdering, pillaging, razing bastards to jail — or to the eastern front — which is probably where that whole bunch of psycopathic bastards belongs in the first place.

(PS: Customers? Pfft. Given the choice between the end of the whole “ZOMG crafting sux take it out take it out take it out!!!!” whinge and having adventurers for customers, I’ll pick the peace and quiet. After all, crafters need stuff made too.)

Stalked!

Well, not really, but I got ya didn’t I?

Seems Casualties of WAR keep picking the same servers as another guild, whom I shall call Moon Pod to protect the innocent (and not give those asshats traffic). While I can entertain the possibility that some of these Moon Pods might be perfectly nice people, that notion contradicts every encounter I’ve ever had in any game with a collection of pixels wearing that tag. I think I’d rather get warts than be on the same server as that lot.

So far, CoW-Order have made 3 server calls, with half the guild watching breathlessly so they can start in the right place today. The password, by the way, is asparagus. (No it’s not. If you’re a CoW, go check the boards already.)

Earth-shattering KABOOM?

It seems many of my Casualties guildies and other, unaffiliated pundits think there will be oodles of drama and explosions due to CoW’s very nature and base composition, that being a whole bunch of opinionated, articulate people who blog and/or read blogs and maybe even play the games they’re talking about, and therefore know about stuff better than anyone else. (Do I need /sarcasm tags?)

I guess it depends on one’s definition of drama and on the kind of drama it is. Like stress, drama is inevitable and some of it is actually good. Disagreement, however, isn’t automatically dramatic, nor does it have to be. Continue reading