Who said WoW was unassailable?

This game looks like an end-run around WoW’s strengths: storyline depth, spelling, grammar, good localization quality and intentional humour.

From the Elf Online newbie quest database:

Quest name: Meng San’s worries
Quest level: 6~99
Rewarded goods: Fatal Wrath Kerchief 7J?21001?
Procedure: 1.Go to Uncle Lin in Sunset Prairie to buy a bottle of Injure Curer for Iron Arm Meng San in West Carefree Village.
Quest name: Beat elf
Quest level: 1~99
Procedure: 1.Go to HaiLiGe in North Wulong Village after killed 10 Snot Elf in Tranquil Seacoast 1.

And having agreed to join up, this is displayed after the “congratulations!” message:

Play Elf Online, Earn Cash.
Rare Items for Your Choose.
Cashes Points Rare Pets.

And, err, the download instructions look pretty frightening for Vista users:

1.Client latest version, about 890 M;
2.You can use either BT or HTTP to download. BT is recommended;
3.If you use the Vista O/S, please don’t install the game in disk C;
4. If you can’t login the game after downloaded and installed the client, please download manual update patch.

Even now I feel strangely drawn to play.

h/t Broken Toys

Update: Caution… you can’t delete or cancel your account details so be sure to use a pseudonym and a disposable email address during registration. And I can’t figure out how to… err… get an ID for this free game. Impenetrable grammar has its downsides too…

Myers-Briggs for gamers

After taking this test, I know I’m so much more a SEKA than a Capricorn or INFJ…

SEKA (Socializer, Explorer, Killer, Achiever)

SEKA players are usually very interested in the the ‘total experience’ of a virtual world–meeting other people and finding the unique places within it. They don’t care much for PVP or levelling, but meeting up with online friends to see new parts of the world is usually fun and exciting.

Breakdown: Achiever 26.67%, Explorer 66.67%, Killer 33.33%, Socializer 73.33%

I wonder how this compares to Myers-Briggs and Astrology for useful applicability to my interactions with work colleagues?

Flash Asteroids

To teach myself Flash and ActionScript I promised the kids I’d write Asteroids for them. This is a pale imitation but thankfully my kids have never seen the original game. Mr 6 said there should be a level boss with spinning blades and a nasty energy weapon, but this was probably OK for level 1.

I have learned quite a bit from the exercise, but you really don’t want to see the mess of code underneath. The terrible way it presents in a blog post is horror enough for your eyes, dear reader.

The planned Web Services and asteroid collisions with conservation of momentum will have to be debugged into existence another day.

IE users click here (until my ninja Flash embedding skillz improve).

Mortally wounded in a yo-yo fight

I need to warn you people that art and the ancient discipline of yo-yo fighting do not mix.

I was at a birthday party on the weekend. Liz (if that’s her real name) is quite an artist, and her back yard was strewn with brass and copper sculpture.

There were yo-yos lying around without their safeties on. Another birthday attendee, my wife’s cousin, was recklessly “walking the dog” with one. There were children present. I wanted to make my move with a fast “cat’s cradle” to knock him off balance then follow up with a flawless one-two combination of “round the world” and a “flip.”

It’s important to describe myself at this time. I know I don’t have an image of myself up on the site, but a word picture will do for this vignette.

I’m like a combination of Keanu Reeves and Lawrence Fishburne, in that I’m a terrible actor and I have a shaved head.

I ducked and moved forward. I was planning my move and rotating my lithe body to snatch the “yo” as time slowed down, and my mind’s eye rotated around me.

A wire on a hanging sculpture dragged its way down my scalp in bullet time, throwing me off balance and making a very nasty looking open wound right along my scalp.

What could have been the worlds finest opening up of a whole can of yo-yo takedown whup-ass on my wife’s cousin, turned into a week of explaining my embarrassing injury away with increasingly embellished yo-yo fighting anecdotes.

World of Warcraft population continues to splode

World of Warcraft has hit 5,000,000 subscribers. The press release even has an almost precise definition of what a subscriber is.

World of Warcraft customers include individuals who have paid a subscription fee or purchased a prepaid card to play World of Warcraft, as well as those who have purchased the installation box bundled with one free month access. Internet Game Room players that have accessed the game over the last seven days are also counted as customers. The above definition excludes all players under free promotional subscriptions, expired or cancelled subscriptions, and expired pre-paid cards. Customers in licensees’ territories are defined along the same rules.

Let’s see, US$14/month times 5,000,000 is US$840 million/year. Adding box revenue of about US$30/subscriber is another US$150 million. Give or take a few months, that’s nearly a billion dollars in a year from a single game title.

I demand pictures of Blizzard developers driving gold-plated Bentleys and wearing “Sony Online Entertainment will stomp you like a bug!” T-shirts.

myphatlewt.sh – Export WoW bank content to a text file

Pragmatic World of Warcraft players keep a mule character or two for cheap extra storage space. Guilds usually maintain a few mule characters for stockpiling reagents, quest items, communal cash and spare loot too. The problem with having a stable of mules is that you can’t remember what they have in stock without logging them on and rifling through their gear.

Using a combination of a nice WoW addon, and a one line bash script that will make your eyes bleed, myphatlewt.sh can export your bank content to a text file.

There was an old widow from Africa

A fabulous post at Making Light.

[…]some months ago I actually managed to come up with a poem so bad that the International Library of Poetry, to which I submitted it, neither declared it to be a semifinalist in one of their contests, nor offered to publish it in one of their pricey yet unreadable anthologies.

Accomplishing this feat has been the aim of the people who maintain the Wocky Jivvy website. In their many attempts, they’ve come up with some truly remarkable entries—“My Cat Has Fleas,” “Walking with the Man,” “Dawn of a New Eve,” “Flubblebop,” “Yew Gotta Larf,” etc.—but as far as I know, they’ve never received the rejection they covet.

How did I do it? It was easy, once I hit upon the right approach.[…]

Read on. Some of the commenters’ contributions are awe inspiring.

Q: With a real job and a real family, how do you find time to play MMOGs?

Real job?

Oh that job. Thankfully the harshness of the early hours is softened by flexibility. My wife works part-time and her work time is not able to be very flexible even though they’d like to be (think small office, public-facing). Three days a week I do drop-offs and pick-ups, and work moves around these.

Real family?

Perhaps you’re referring to my one for me, one for my spouse and one (on the way) for my country? Two different species of pets?

Having a 3rd child was an idea we were discussing when we were overtaken by reality, We had incorrectly assumed that thinking about Peter Costello when he uttered those words would be contraceptive enough.


Let me start by saying television is evil. Television demands your focus, eats up time and it can’t be interacted with. Television fills you up with pictures and leaves you hungry for information. I catch the occasional snippet of ABC News, and the 7:30 report and Lateline. I watch specific programs from commercial channels in a format where the ads can be skipped.

I love radio. Specifically I love ABC 702 and Radio National. Radio is flexible and time-effective because you’re free to do other stuff while you’re listening. Radio programs cover stories in depth, present what people say in the context it is said, and can be played in the background while you’re:
1. Playing with/administering kids,
2. cooking dinner, and
3. having conversations

Podcasts are great for when I’ve run out of radio to listen to.

Most of my non-family leisure time is spent with computers: Reading, writing, playing and messing around with *stuff*.

MMOGs can be all-consuming. MOGs can be all-consuming. OGs can be all-consuming. Gs can be all-consuming.

The only MMOG I play is World of Warcraft (WoW). I guess I average around 10 hours a week in 2-3 hour chunks late in my evenings. I started to play because I have real life friends who play. One of these real life (RL) friends studies the psychology of virtual online communities professionally, which helps to feed my inner amateur psychologist.

I used to play EverQuest (EQ). EverQuest is an enourmous body of work. Tactically, EQ is very sophisticated and the players of EQ can write the pseudocode for the way game AI, pathing, combat and skills work and have a library of standard tactics to apply to difficult situations. There was very little in EQ designed to help casual players, and that which was designed for casual players was usually bug-ridden or fatally flawed. EQ is a harsh world with mechanics that punish you for playing on your own or leaving the game abruptly. Casual players have mostly left EQ for RL or WoW.

I think tensions between real life and MMOGs come from a couple of main sources:

1. When you work with other people in the game to accomplish a goal, there is a commitment to see something through to completion.
2. The reward and progression systems are grind-based. To access more fun, you need to progress. To progress, you need to grind. The rewards are sufficiently random to reinforce obsessive behaviour.
3. You pay a monthly subscription fee. If this fee is above your “don’t care” financial threshold then there’s a compulsion to extract as much value as possible.

I am occasionally torn by 1, hardly ever by 2 and never by 3.

WoW *seems* better than other MMOGs in that they encourage casual play by making progression proportionally faster for people who play infrequently, and by arranging the world and story into a series of bite-sized quests that usually take under an hour to complete and are usually a kind of game-within-a-game. WoW allows you to play the game by cooperating with lots of other people, a couple of other people, or by setting out on your own. Generally, you can estimate how long a quest or activity will take and decide up-front whether you can commit that time. In the cases when you need to exit the game, the people I play with will utter the mantra: “RL>WoW. Go!” What’s more, WoW has a very neat, but sensibly limited programming interface, so the meta-game is fun too.

WoW is entertainment that can always be interrupted for RL. I allocate it enough time to keep it entertaining and not enough to cause tension… too much tension.

The Interview Meme

Welcome to the interview meme. First a copy and paste of the rules. The rules are:

  1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
  2. I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
  3. You will update your weblog with the answers to the questions.
  4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
  5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

I’ve read a few Interview Meme posts and I’ve found them very interesting. Finally I gave in to my inner extrovert and asked Chris at TIS to interview me.

I intend to address each in its own post over the next few days. This post will be the table of contents with links to the answers. Be patient with me as my parents are in town for a while and free time will be hard to come by.

To what do you attribute the current right wing dominance of Australian politics? (link)

What motivates you? (link)

With a real job and a real family, how do you find time to play MMOGs? (link)

What cool technology do you wish you could have a chance to play with? (link)

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? (link)

Thanks for the questions Chris!

** Update: Relative linking was wide of the mark **