SND

Random thoughts:

-LOTRO went from a great game for me to a great game, period, sometime in the last three months. I’m not the only person to notice, given that I now face a queue to get on my server. Even the queue is well done, making me wish that every queue on earth was this good.

– Speaking of queues: My new phone number used to belong to a deadbeat named Deborah. Creditors call literally dozens of times a day looking for her. The problem is, there are no humans calling. It’s all robo-dialers. They wake up every napping life form in the house, they rattle off the number *I* have to call to speak to a person at warp six and hang up before I find a pen, and if I ignore it, they call back. When I do call the number, I wait on hold – remember, they called me – for up to twenty minutes, ultimately to be argued with by someone who thinks I’m Deborah and pretending to be me. I had one guy ask me to prove I wasn’t her. With what, my psychic web cam? Deborah, you stupid whore, the next time I get a call at 7 AM, it is ON.

– Part of my job these days is tracking the levels of interest in upcoming titles so we can get ahead of the curve and create guild page themes. Interestingly, the games that win all the polls are not the titles that I see on the most new guild/clan sites. As a side note, years ago I write a rant about the board warriors who create guilds for unlaunched games. I don’t mean statements of intent from existing guilds, I mean entirely new groups. These “guilds” would have ranks, and award points for forum actions, and have meetings, and virtual practice sessions, and often fall apart entirely before launch because someone started sleeping with the guild master’s wife. I found these drama whores pitiful at the time. Now I still snicker a little, but given the total inability of the human race to choose a name that’s rare enough to score the URL, I’m willing to cut people more slack.

– Speaking of sleeping with the guild master’s wife, isn’t the internet old enough now that we can all automatically translate some of the conventional conversational openers? For instance, “I haven’t connected with anyone the way I connect with you” is an incomplete sentence. It ends with “but the night is young and I’m still sober.”

– I have to go buy an Xbox. I know, poor me. I’m dreading it, though. I’m one of those people the Wii was made for; I always act like lifting the controller really high will help my character jump over things. Don’t even talk to me about Mario Cart. But my company just borged a thriving Xbox community site, and if there’s one thing I believe about community, it’s that without being of your community, you’re just an empty suit skimming the surface. So, I guess I gotta learn about consoles.

– Speaking of empty suits skimming the surfaces, this was the best headline EVER: Republicans Vote Against Moms; No Word Yet on Puppies, Kittens.

– Is everyone in the USA registered to vote? If not, why not? There are a lot of Supreme Court justice seats coming up for the next presidential pickings. This one MATTERS, kids.

– Speaking of the Supreme Court, I will bet cash that the concept of virtual property is going to hit that august body in the next five years. I am willing to bet cash because no one will bet against me on that one.

Sorry, been a slow news day for awhile now.

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24 Comments

  1. mystery said,

    May 9, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    Every primary commentator has the same refrain this year: “Record turnout at the polls”…at least for the Dems. Around here, where the term “progressive” is a term for those people just not committed enough we had nearly double the turnout from the last election…and that was just a primary.

    Oh, and when you buy an Xbox, make sure to buy Rock Band. It will change your life. Care for a pamphlet and this free flower? Hari krishna, hari hari…

  2. Aufero said,

    May 10, 2008 at 12:46 am

    Oh, god, robo-dialers. Some idiot in Indiana with my name (I’m guessing 5% of the males born in the early 60’s have the same name I do, based on a search of the Social Security index) owes a bunch of money to various people, and somehow the credit agencies have decided I must be him because I lived in Indiana for a year back in the 80’s. I must get 15 calls a week from automated collection agency dialers. At least my command of invective is increasing.

  3. Ethic said,

    May 10, 2008 at 3:00 am

    Regarding LotRO, I’m not sure why a green triangle that says “short wait” is a good queue system.

  4. Scott Jennings said,

    May 10, 2008 at 3:36 am

    I really need to pick up LotRO. But I’m having fun in WoW. Damn you, Internet!

  5. DragonPup said,

    May 10, 2008 at 3:40 am

    I just got a new phone number too, and that guy owed cash as well! Actually, on the Caller ID it still shows his name whenever I call people. Damn you, Jacob Eidesmore!

    p.s. I’ve been registered since I turned 18. My first presidential ballot was cast absentee while I was about to undergo major surgery. I blame the drugs for making me voter Nader in 2000. 😐

  6. DragonPup said,

    May 10, 2008 at 3:41 am

    Oh, completely forgot, but did you place yourself on the Do Not Call list? A few weeks after I did just about all the telemarketers stopped calling. 🙂

  7. lilibat said,

    May 10, 2008 at 6:33 am

    I don’t know, at 50 I am really REALLY bored with LOTRO. We have a small guild to begin with and lately no one is on so we can’t do instances and I refuse to do pick up groups after several years of WoW. There is only so much I can tolerate the same x of y quests when there are no real rewards other than faction with a group I am not especially interested in. I guess I am just about done with it at this rate unless my friends start playing again regularly or something happens.

  8. sanyaweathers said,

    May 10, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    I am on the Do Not Call list, which sadly doesn’t work against creditors calling the last viable number they had for Deborah, the Spendthrift Slutdog.

    The awesomeness is not a mere green triangle! I am too old and bitchy to be impressed by green triangles! It’s the “Estimated wait is X minutes, you are Y in the queue. Status will be updated in Z seconds,” where Z is an actual countdown so I don’t have to spam anything. And it’s accurate. I have been in and around lots of “you are Y in the queue” or “your wait is this long” thingies that are complete lies, so I totally expected this one to be just as bad.

  9. nothanks said,

    May 10, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    Next time they call at 7AM threaten to sue them for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. They are only supposed to call between 8AM – 9PM, your local time. The collectors are also guilty of talking to a 3rd party, you. A link to the law covering Communication in connection with debt collection (look at a1 and b): http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/15/usc_sec_15_00001692—c000-.html

  10. Merlyn said,

    May 10, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    Just tell them not to call this number anymore….then start collecting name, badge number, actual physical address, etc. They quickly stop calling.

  11. TPRJones said,

    May 10, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    “Creditors call literally dozens of times a day looking for her. The problem is, there are no humans calling. It’s all robo-dialers.”

    Once you’ve informed them one time that you are not Deborah and they should not call there anymore, then further calls (especially with a robo-dialer, which is illegal except for politicians and companies with prior business with the owner of the number being called) are illegal. If you document your informing that the number they’ve dialed is no longer Deborah’s and then properly document the calls they make after that, then if you find a friendly judge you’ll easily win an award of $5,000 for each call they make to you.

    I know a guy that made over $70,000 last year suing telemarketers.

  12. Merlyn said,

    May 10, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    Oh, and regarding LotRO, not until they get a mac version…can you start letting companies know that mac gamers want to play more than WoW?

  13. amber said,

    May 11, 2008 at 5:46 am

    My experience with pickup groups in LoTRO has been about the best experience I’ve had. I’m gonna go with 75% good, 15% meh, and 10% gawdawful. This is exactly reverse from my experience with WoW.

    The LoTRO wait queue is definitely superior. Now if they would only fix that stupid loot dialog box bug where the “roll for” box pops under the loot dialog box, that would be marvy. Also the new jump emote is wtf silly. Oh…and fishing. Sauron is about to enslave the whole of middle earth and you’re fishing?!?! Here’s the deal, see…wait…wrong blog. Never mind. 😉

  14. Spiny said,

    May 11, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    I am so with you on the “I got the old phone number of a slacker trying to escape the creditors” thing. Our deadbeat’s name is Mary. Mary still uses her old phone number (our current number) when she writes her bad checks and also puts it down when she applies for her never to be paid off new credit cards. What a nightmare. We get plenty of real-life scum (aka bill collectors) calling, and they never believe that my wife isn’t Mary or that Mary doesn’t live here. You would think caller ID would help here, but the debt collectors block their ID and keep calling until they talk to someone…

    Two years this has been going on. Its gotten a bit better, but still happens a couple times a week. You know, I am not a huge fan of unconstitutional government surveillance, but if the NSA/CIA/FBI can use it to track down Mary and throw her in the slammer, I think I would be down with it at this point.

  15. Averno said,

    May 12, 2008 at 12:25 am

    “These “guilds” would have ranks, and award points for forum actions, and have meetings, and virtual practice sessions, and often fall apart entirely before launch because someone started sleeping with the guild master’s wife.”

    – Wow, so ive been running one of these afformentioned ‘guilds’ for Warhammer Online since mid 2006 and its still running. We dont run virtual practice sessions, have meetings or award ‘points’ for anything at all.

    We talk about the game we are psyched to play, previous mmo’s we’ve played, random unrelated things and organise days/times to play other various games like Warhawk on PS3 or Pox Nora.

    Personally I really like the small, 50 odd person community we’ve built over the past 2 years and think its kinda dissapointing to note such a harsh judgement from someone who was in Mythics community relations team for so many years. Seem a little jaded Sanya.

  16. sanyaweathers said,

    May 12, 2008 at 11:29 am

    Er… Averno? If none of the conditions I listed apply to you, why would you think I’m talking about you? You rather point by point went down a checklist, there 🙂

    Also, it sounds like you may have coalesced around WAR, but your guild actually plays other games and has points in common besides a desire to Play 2 Crush Other People On Message Boards.

  17. May 12, 2008 at 11:50 am

    My new phone number didn’t belong to a dead beat… it belonged to a Soccer Mom. I get phone calls at 5am looking for an emergency baby-sitter, and schools looking for volunteers all day long. The funniest was the womans cousin, who was stranded at the Atlanta airport at 11pm, and needed a place to crash for the night.

    Virtual Property and the Supreme Court? I will take that bet. This subject will never make it that far because the Gaming Companies will settle out of court rather than allow any precedent on the issue. Imagine the financial loss if a judge declared that virtual property has a real world value, and then Blizzard had to roll their servers back 24 hours. Blizzards lawyers wake up screaming when they dream about this. There HAVE been lawsuits filed about this issue… most recently a suit by a WoW player versus IGE Gold Farmers.. and they all just quietly disappeared. It’s like magic…

  18. Averno said,

    May 12, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    I don’t mean statements of intent from existing guilds, I mean entirely new groups. These “guilds” ….

    To be honest you opened there like you were gunning the statement at all pre-launch guilds.. Sure you listed features of some of the more retarded pre-launchers but it didnt actually break it down into saying “Oh actually this is the vs of guilds, which dont have the deathly rubber stamp of failure”. 🙂 For the most part ill agree with your statements though. I feel like the problem is most GM’s have 50% blind enthusiasm and 50% short sightedness, planning always goes out the window.

    I dont really do blog reading because its akin to sniffing paint so I hope you dont mind me making a larger-than-socially-acceptable reply here..

    Now I hope this wont be seen as too much of a low blow but…

    I query whether Guild Cafe helps or harms guilds more.. Id love to see a statistical analysis of the failure rates for guilds which are centralised at guildcafe rather than having their own domain. It really seems like Yahoo Geocities where you can build a small page and watch it fall into utter disrepair.

    Frankly after playing DAoC myself and occasionally flicking through important herald notices when they came up, I feel like your talents are wasted at guild cafe.

    P.s. Good on you for shouting down the phone at Garthilk from Warhammer Alliance, cant stand the guy personally and the War-RvR vs WHA drama was pathetic

  19. SavageX said,

    May 12, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    Give a holler when you get live, always looking to add gaming pals.

    I was apprehensive about the XBox but I am having a blast with a number of games. still haven’t managed to get much online going though. I seem to be up at the wrong hours of the day.

  20. Sweetmeat said,

    May 12, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    I have to say I love the flavour of LoTRO, and I also love the art and graphic quality. Having been a raving CoH fanboy for the last three and a half years though, the limitations of LoTRO really bug me. We play every Saturday night with a group of three of us( Gaurdian, Captain, and Hunter), and we are unable to finish group quests that aren’t green to us. So if we want to try to complete them earlier we need to pick up three other players who are on the step we are on, are at a level to be able to make a contribution, and actually play well enough to make a contribution. The methods for finding these people are unintuitive, and clunky compared to CoH – part of the problem being that they have to be on the same step as you or they can’t get anything out of your quests but poor exp ( for elite mobs ) and poor loot drops.

    It’s funny because Amber actually plays with us but we have completely different views on picking up groups in the game. I admit that once you get a group together and headed in the right direction the quality of our PUGs has been pretty good. The sheer tedium and frustration of trying to get that group together has me less and less excited to log in each week.

  21. Khan said,

    May 13, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    I’ve noticed the upswing in attendance in LotRO as well. There seem to be many first-time (non-alt) players in their 20s / 30s. More than there used to be. My kinship is doing what we can to help out the new players so they don’t feel lost amongst the 50s.

    I think a lot of the issues with grouping folks are noticing are the result of the server population being centered now around level 50. Anyone not 50 will see fewer people around in their level range than when the game released. Even with all the new folks it still seems like pulling teeth to get an appropriate level group for an instance sometimes. Turbine did make changes to their grouping systems but I haven’t used it much. The quest log changes are nice, however (you can see everyone’s progress, etc).

    I think the queue to sign-in is something Turbine implements as a herding mechanism. I’ve noticed before they they’ve used it on busy realms when they expect a large influx of new players. Though I agree, it is a nice system – much better than the ‘you have 8, no 10, no 5, no 15, no 2, no 2 (psyche!), no 3, ok log in now, you have been disconnected from the log in server’ approaches other games have.

  22. MouseJunior said,

    May 17, 2008 at 8:02 am

    Oh god, deadbeats. I’ve got one of those numbers too.

    You can get lots of nifty info though. I know her name, her SS number, her U of Illinois student number, and all kinds of other goodies. Not that I’d want her identity, unless I decided that I wanted to play at being irresponsible scum.

    If it’s a new number, see if you can change it. I made the mistake of not doing so, and I’m still getting calls 5 *years* later, including one last month at 4 AM. An individual collection agency can’t call you back, but they can resell the debt to another agency who can, ad infinitum.

  23. mythago said,

    May 17, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Given the competence of the bill collectors in question, I wouldn’t be surprised if Deborah actually paid all her bills on time but they decided, after the fact, to charge some kind of fee-paying fee to her account.

  24. goemagog said,

    May 17, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    voting is for chumps who think someone in washington cares about what they think.

    Goe, against corruption.


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