Our House, In the Middle of… Ermm… Somewhere…

The first thing I noticed about the housing expansion is that it’s a killer.

No, seriously – it killed me. It went something like this:

Pessum (Me): “Hi guildmates! How can I get to our amazing new guild home?”
Guildmates: “Hello Pessum! Simply buy a guild hearth scroll from the portal munchkin in Gothwaite!”
Pessum: “Swell! Why, look how easy that was! I can’t believe how easy Mythic made this for idiots like me! This is great! Here I come…”
Death: “Hello there!”

Now, you would think that there would be some sort of warning. But oh no, that would be FAR too idiot proof! Silly me, being the very thorough idiot that I am, launched Camelot and then went and farted around and watched tv, ate some Ben & Jerrys – you know, healthy stuff – expecting the subsequent patching (for the new housing expansion, you see) to take a while.

So I come back to my computer, I see the launch screen and I figure everything’s kosher, right?


Looking back, I think that Mythic did something very, very intelligent: they made the installation of the housing feature patch optional. That was so damn clever it’s really staggering to think of. Imagine being able to NOT download all the bits you wouldn’t need in a game! For me, that’s not really such a big deal, as I’m sure it’s not to most of the high-speed access folks. But that’s a great feature for someone on dial-up (or even shitty cable)!

Unfortunately, although I give Mythic mad props for being fiendishly clever about that, I do have to express some disappointment at their inability to fully realize the depths of some people’s stupidity. Specifically, mine. Turns out their idea was a bit too clever.

To give you some idea of what I’m talking about, let me clarify this whole housing thing: My guild has a house. I want to go there. I do not read news sites as often as I should, as I tend to get confused rather easily (I know, SUCH a surprise!), and usually limit my reading to stories and columns and such and not actual, you know, facts, as I find that they tend to get in the way of my enjoyment. However, it does pervade my murky thought process that actually knowing about something that would KILL me (granted, in a kind and gentle fashion), should be something that is marked as IMPORTANT.

How to do that? Well, I’m not sure – there never seems to be anything wrong with one-time pop-up windows upon game entry, so that would have been nice. I might have noticed that. Even something at character selection. Oh – I suppose I might have skipped that screen. Well, tell ya what, next time, just code in a flaming arrow that shoots out and hits me in the face, would you?

Sanya says, “Kwip, we’ve been working on coding a flaming arrow that will shoot you in the face for quite some time now, I assure you…”

Ah. See? I’m FULL of good ideas, some of which are already being researched by Mythic! You guys should listen to me more often…

But back to this housing. This is, to put it simply, cool. Besides the whole needing a patch without knowing it bit, the houses are really slick. Besides the whole thing about having someplace extra to stash all your crap, there’s merchants there, and they’ve got mighty fine prices, by golly! The only thing is… there don’t quite seem to be enough bedrooms. I mean, oh, sure, if you like the army life, this whole barracks thing is fine. But, uh, I’m a theurge, and even more than that, I’m clean. Some of these soldier types – well, let’s just say they wear about eight layers of filth underneath their kilts, mmkay? And while communal living might sound all neat and spiffy, let me assure you, it’s fine until you get the bathtub after the necro’s been in there and created zombie stew by washing the nasty bits off of him, okay?

First, I think I’m entitled to my own bedroom. I mean, what with being married now, I think it’s only fitting that Kwipette and I can, uh, “visit” without Anson over in the next cot listening in and doing unspeakable things to himself. Really kills the mood, trust me. And if that weren’t bad enough, then we have all the clerics walking in on us and instantly being struck blind. Hey man, maybe your God doesn’t believe in having your wife dance around in the schoolgirl outfit, but let me tell you: My God? He’s down, if you know what I’m saying. For it is written:

“The Gord looked upon his bretheren fishermen and said unto them: ‘Today you are fishermen, but follow me, and bring those nets, because I know this tailor in town that could make some smoking stockings out of them, boyos!'”

Also, Paladins might think they’re all high and mighty, but they leave their dirty socks lying around everywhere. And it’s no use complaining to them about it, because they just get all self-righteous (you know how they get), and start blabbing about “Manifest Destiny” and all this nonsense. How that relates to sock placement, I’m not really sure, but trying to talk to them makes my brain bleed, so I try to avoid the subject.

I’m getting to bask a bit in popularity lately – I’ve been invited to check out a few guild houses already by a number of folks. It’s really amazing how diverse they can be – I expected to see a lot of repetitiveness in them, and there is some, but overall, they all are really unique.

And speaking of unique, let me just offer a bit of advice: if you visit a house that is decorated with red and black felt wallpaper, full of shag carpets and lots of fuzzy furniture – don’t drink from the punchbowl! Just consider this a friendly warning: I’ve seen that place, I drank the punch, and the condition I woke up in…

Well, when you roll over and find yourself being nuzzled by a large troll, let’s just say that you are not about to have a good day…

How Do They Figure They’re Helping You OR The Kingdom?

I’m not sure if I’ve told anyone this, and I know it’ll come as a surprise to a lot of you, but leveling SUCKS.

It’s hard, because what I’d really like to do is sign on by myself for maybe 30 minutes a pop, get some hunting in and feel that it was actually worth my while.

Instead, I sign in, spend 30 minutes trying to find a group, another 60 minutes convincing the group I won’t get everyone killed, another 60 minutes apologizing for getting everyone killed, and I still don’t end up with anything resembling decent xp.

Oh, I know, I know, I should just rely upon my guildmates to help. But really – they’ve done nothing but help me in the past. Why should I punish them?

It’s so bad now that I’m getting up in levels. I used to think leveling was frustrating before when I could spend an hour camping just to go up one level. Now I spend an hour and I’m not even HALF a level – and I know it’s only going to get WORSE! Gah!

I tried to calmly talk this over with some of the NPC’s that give out quests.

Death says, “No you didn’t! You screamed obscenities at them!”
You say, “Not at first!”
Death says, “You did too! You started out the conversation by calling them ‘bitches!'”
You say, “Yeah, but I said it calmly!”
Death says, “And then you tried to stab them in the face!”
You say, “But damnit I was CALM the entire time!”

I really was. I thought I made some good points. You know, raised some valid issues about some of these quests they’re sending us out on. I mean, look, I appreciate that Lady Nimue sees all of these great and powerful threats against the kingdom. But let’s face facts here, people: she is DEAD. She’s a ghost. Do you honestly want someone who’s biggest concern is whether or not the Ghostbusters will show up to be the one dictating what sort of quests need to be done?

Hey, I’m all for listening to the dead. Usually I like to listen to them scream dirty words out as I throw a few earth elementals at them. But now that I’m on this drive to actually get to 50th level, I can’t help but wonder…do ALL of my quests have to go through her? Okay, I know they ALL don’t. But it sure seems that way! I mean, I could be doing a quest involving the search for the world’s best chocolate chip cookie (a quest that can easily be solved by visiting my friend Heather’s stall at Farmer’s Market on any given Saturday). The Chief Priestess of Flour might suddenly decide she needs the Ancient Chips of True Chocolate. Guess who’s going to be the one that knows how to get them?

Lady Nimue.

And do you think she’s going to make it easy? Oh, sure – if something were really threatening the kingdom, just maybe a normal person would see their way to giving you what you need in order to speed things up. But Nimue? She’s a GHOST. Do you really think she’s going to care if she makes you run from one end of the kingdom to the next for no other reason than to hear some idiot guard on a tower tell you that “Hope” is the secret word? Of course not! She’s got eternity!

Of course, now that you’ve run all over creation getting her these ‘important’ ingredients for the magic pendant, she awards you with xp. Like, one BILLIONTH of the xp needed to advance.

Yeah. And she wonders how she got to be a ghost. Me? I wonder why some Necromancer doesn’t have her following him around in a French Maid’s outfit.

Attack of the Killer Interior Designers!

So there’s this city, I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, called Avalon City. AC, to the hip kids.

It’s chock full of these wacky Drakoran guys. Basically, they’re walking alligators. Which can be a bit unnerving if you happen to resemble a walking TV Dinner. Which I do.

What I don’t understand is WHY we’re charging into THEIR town, right, and beating the crap out of them. I mean, really, it’s like a bunch of us charging into Fraggle Rock and beating the hell out of the doozers. Oh, sure, they put up a good fight, don’t get me wrong – I’ve left so many gravestones there, I think the entire north wall is built of them.

But really, look at these guys. They’re crafters and lotsellers! That’s like interior decorators and real estate agents in the Drakoran world!

Basically, what we have here is the Drakoran equivalent to Trading Spaces.

They’re in here, trying to redo the living room of their friends, the Ogres, who are over trying to redo the bedroom (caves) of the Drakos. And normally, where a tight budget or a rainstorm might be the worst thing the show has to deal with, instead, there’s about two billion screaming Albs running through, impaling everything in sight…

Real estate agents. We’re in here, beating up on Real Estate Agents. Oh, sure, they might be covered in scales. And maybe they’ve got jaws that put Jay Leno to shame, but come on – put yourself in their shoes!

“Yes, this is a lovely little Abby that’s being re-made into a GAAAARRRRKKKKKK!”

And what’s even worse is when we charge in there and beat up on the crafters. It’s like charging into a building full of Martha Stewarts and kicking the sh… er… No, I can tell by your giggles that’s a bad analogy.

Okay, it’s like charging into a room full of your Kindergarten teacher and… what? Your teacher did WHAT? Oh. Well, okay, you’ll enjoy that too much. Look, it’s like charging into a room full of TOTALLY HARMLESS OLD LADIES KNITTING SWEATERS and slaughtering the lot of ’em!

I heard you giggle, Anson. Wait till I tell your grandma!

Honestly, though, we haven’t even seen what they intend to do with the place. Maybe they’ll build a bigger and better city! I mean, who knows, right? Have YOU ever been to a Drakoranian city? No? Well, there you go!

Maybe they have – get this – CRAFTERS AND MERCHANTS ALL IN ONE PLACE! And – I’m not even done – maybe, just MAYBE there’s EVERY TRAINER, all on the SAME LEVEL! With no stairs to fall down!

Hey man, you don’t know! This could be! But will we ever find out? No, because we’re too busy playing Homicidal Housing Inspector With A Pole Arm every five seconds!

And let me just point something else out – we can make fun of them for living in this beat-up ruin, but hey, at least THEY have a home! Have you seen the prices on housing yet? Man, never mind ever fighting monsters again – I say we go after the real estate agents! There we go – you guys want to beat up on Realtors? Go beat up ours! Look how bad they’re shafting us!

I was all proud of the 190 gold pieces I managed to scrounge together for the guild housing fund, only now Phil told me, and I quote, “that’s about 1/100th of the deposit on our guild home – which is merely a cardboard box outside the north gate of Camelot!”

So if you need to find me, I’ll be following the Draks around AC, begging for fabric scraps…

Me, and My Necro…

I can’t even manage to play ONE character. Pretty sad, really.

I don’t even know how to use all of my spells as a Theurg. See, Pessum (used to be Bottom, remember?) made it all the way to 36th level before I let someone talk me into starting a Necro. Well, okay, I didn’t have to be convinced very hard – the idea of being able to play in shade form appealed to me. Mostly because of the whole “you can’t be hit in shade mode” thing – yeah, silly me.

So anyway, I now have two characters I fumble around with. Neither one of them is useful. Yeah, Kwip has that power transfer, but that usually requires me to stay alive long enough to cast it. Oh, Pessum might have PBT, but the power I might save the cleric in the party with heals I MORE than make up for in the number of times I have to get rezzed.

But lately I’ve been really really trying to get to 50th. Yes, that’s why these past two updates have been late – I’ve been staying up actually playing! Yes, I know, I’m as shocked as anyone. But I just have to get to 50! I want to try that fancy /level command out! Finally I’ll get to try all those wacky templates I’ve been afraid to – like an inconnu paladin!

The problem is (of course you knew there’d be one, right?), I don’t know how to play my character. Either one. And playing TWO of them just doubles my confusion.

I know that both of their classes can be effective. I’ve seen it. But I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. And to make matters worse, I get confused over which one can do which spell.

For example, in a party, as Pessum, I pump out as many pets as my power will let me. Yes, I take my power down to nil, but I’m confident that one powertap will put me right back on track. Of course, being that I’m now a THEURG, the only tapping my pets know how to do is to the top of someone’s head. So then my power’s empty, blade turn pulses, and whoops! No more power! That means no more blade turn. Which means party gets wiped out. Which means they take turns holding me down and kicking me in the groin.

Then I’m on as Kwip. I fire off an AOE spell at a pair of mobs, completely unconcerned because I know my AOE mez will hold the second of them off until I kill the first one. The only problem? Necros don’t have AOE mez. Oh, we’ve got little snares, but all that seems to do is make the monster stand still while he beats the snot out of me instead of his usual dancing around and giggling while beating the snot out of me.

And I’m not the only one doing it, you know. Do you think Pessum can walk by a graveyard without being accosted by a swarm of sniveling zombies, all hell-bent on getting some Necro buffs? It’s embarrassing. I mean, hey, I want to help the guys out and everything, but, uh, they’re undead. Kwip might have to deal with them, but I certainly don’t want their grubby little mitts all over me!

It’s really bad, too, because they instantly assume that if you play a Necro, you automatically will sympathize with them. I don’t really know who’s the PR guy for the undead, but they definitely need to start doing a better job. Maybe a flashy ad campaign with young attractive people playing volleyball in their swimsuits. Then a zombie could spike the winning point and everyone could have a cold one! Or something like that.

Because, to tell you the truth, and this is only between you and I – Kwip only uses undead pets because he likes the way they cry when they get hit. Yes, I know, he’s sick!

And this whole concept of being an undead “supporter” or something – well, it’s downright humiliating. But I just can’t bring myself to break it to them. So I buy the little flowers from them at their fundraisers (and I have a sneaky suspicion they’re taking these from fresh graves!), and I sign their petitions (People for Equal Treatment of Zombies – PETZ).

But, ah, I do not go to their luncheons. Trust me – they give a whole new meaning to “finger foods.”

Get More Than Two of Them Together…

Oh, sure – like I can not go play in Camelot NOW. As if once I know how incredibly cool in person everyone in my guild is, I could just be satisfied with saying hi to them occasionally. Like that would work.

No, I’m afraid I had to full-on get back to my little Necro self. Even if it meant putting up with other necro pets.

See, the problem here is that I’m on my second character, while everyone else in the guild is on their three-hundred and twenty-fifth. I don’t know if it’s because they are so uber…

Death says, “Or because you suck so badly…”

Precisely. But the long and the short is, they are very good at taking brand-spanking new character and shortly getting them far, far above my second character, which I’ve been playing since Shrouded Isles came out and have only managed to reach level 14 with…sigh.

What’s really frustrating is that I was one of the (if not THE) first ones in our guild to try out Necros. So it’s only fitting that after several months, I’ve been lapped about TWENTY times by Necros that are – oh, let’s say, one WEEK old?

Yeah, it’s THAT confident of a feeling, let me tell you. It went from “Hey Kwip, how do you like Necros?” to “Hey Kwip, why on EARTH did you spec Painworking?” practically overnight.

And that’s not the worst of it. Consider this: I’ve had the same level pet (a reanimated servant I like to refer to as “Smeese” or “Dingleberry” or sometimes even “No You Stupid Bastich”) for about six months now. Everyone else has moved on to the next more super powerful pet. So that means that every time we get together as a group, I never hear the end of it.

It’s like this: remember how, when you were a poor kid growing up in the suburbs and all the other kids had Transformers, but you had those suckwad PLASTIC – er, well, CHEAPER plastic toys? The ones that transformed from a car into a piece of unrecognizable plastic? And then never transformed back again? Remember how much you whined and griped at your parents about not having REAL toys, until they took away even the plastic lump, and then you were left with a SOCKformer, which would transform from a sock to a sock puppet?

Well, if you didn’t experience that, I’m probably jealous of you anyway, so we’ll just skip over that piece. But that should give you an idea of what sort of atmosphere I descend into any time I try and get something done with other Necros (and their servants) around…

And what’s up with calling these guys ‘servants,’ anyway? Who came up with that? They’re not servants! They can’t pick up after you, they DON’T bring you food – ewww, and if they DO, then there’s all sorts of BITS floating in it! They don’t do chores, they don’t help out with the yard work – oh, sure, they might risk death facing a monster or five for you, but so what? What’s the worst thing that’s going to happen to them? THEY’LL GET RELEASED FROM YOUR SERVICE, THAT’S WHAT!

That would be like hiring me and telling me that if I got any of the spoons out of the silverware drawer, I’d have to eat your entire freezer full of Ben & Jerrys. Yeah, brilliant plan, there. Sure, sure, they do great work and make us powerful, blah blah blah – but they’re not servants, that’s my point.

I move we start calling them “Whiny Bastiches.” Oh, sure, you THINK they’re there to do all the fighting for me. That’s only because you guys don’t speak undead. If you could understand what these guys spent their entire time bitching about, I assure you, your growth would be stunted, too. It’s amazing how little you can find yourself eating when everyone around you is talking about ‘how to keep your arm from falling off’ or ‘what sort of knot works best at keeping your lower intestines in.’

Yeah, now you know why all of us Inconnu spend all of our lives jealous of how tall dwarves get to be…

Why Road Trips Are Fun

We had a players’ gathering. Well, not ‘we’ so much as ‘they’ – Blackspire Guard, the guild I belong to in DAoC.

Phil’s been telling me about it for months now (he’s one of the Big Giant Heads of the guild). But you know me – so many important things to remember (like wearing pants when I leave the house) that I can’t be bothered to keep track of important dates. That is what my calendar is for!

Death says, “Where is your calendar, by the way?”
You say, “Erm…it was there a minute ago…”

Anyway, I’m not good at keeping up on events. I’ve had the reminder for Kwipette’s birthday tattooed on my forearm to make sure I remember it, in fact. And you don’t even want to know what I do to remember our anniversary…

Anyway, the big day is coming, Phil reminds me twenty times this week. Anson also chimes in with his tiny little voice. Normally I ignore him, but since he’s also gnawing on my ankles quite rabidly, I pay him some attention. He and Tyros are going down Friday night – probably to get in some fun before I can show up and start making fun of them. Or get them all killed, one or the other.

But anyway – Phil reminds me about it, and Darve’s coming along with us, too. Being all part of the guild, see.

Now, a road trip – especially a road trip for a geek event that is less than two hours away – is a fine activity. The Guard has always taken good care of me, and doesn’t even laugh that loudly (anymore) when I get killed in one of my more… unusual… manners. So I’m actually very eager to meet a lot of these people. I don’t play DAoC very often any more, but I still follow along with Guild activities on the boards. I still don’t understand half of what they’re talking about, either, so not much has changed…

Where was I? Oh, yes – Phil has finally reminded me enough that I actually remember and agree to go along. Not having played DAoC much lately, I’m a tad apprehensive, because I doubted too many of the members would remember me. Or, if they did, the only thing they’d remember is my incessant whining about my name change. But I like meeting other geeks on principle, really, because they’re usually a lot of fun.

The one thing I failed to take into account is that in order to be down there in the morning, we’d be leaving Lancaster earlier in the morning. Like, 8am earlier. On a Saturday. I don’t know what your Saturdays consist of, but you can bet that mine involve a healthy dose of attempting to make up for the lack of sleep from the preceding week.

So we can now assume that I am not, by definition, operating in a fully functional mode now. The good part of this is that Kwipette ran to Market for me Friday afternoon and picked up jerky, so I had at least one of my regular companions for the day.

I arrive at Phil’s house unbelievably on time. He and Darve were sitting around discussing the best method of waking me up – whether they should just call over to my place, or drive over with the air horn. So it was a good thing I woke up on my own, I guess.

We load our gear (cameras for them, beef jerky for me) into Phil’s van. Darve goes to his truck to get THE CONTRAPTION, and Phil and I chat briefly as he looks for his phone. I assume that he’s trying to find his cellphone, which I keenly point out to him is clipped to his belt. No, he says, he’s looking for his home phone so that he can “call up to” his wife. I puzzle for this a bit until he explains to me that Mrs. Ian is on the third floor of their home, while he is on the first. So in order to tell her he’s leaving now, he’s going to CALL HER ON THE TELEPHONE TO LET HER KNOW HE IS LEAVING. Before I can even come CLOSE to proper mockery, he cuts me off with a “don’t you dare start!” and makes the long, arduous climb to the heavens to bid his wife goodbye for the day. I asked him if he wanted some Sherpas and pack mules for the trip up, and his response wasn’t really fit to print here.

I then went outside to see if Darve needed any help loading THE CONTRAPTION. Oh, wait – that’s a lie. I actually climbed into the back of the van and tried hard to fall asleep. This was made difficult by the sounds of Darve backing up the 10-ton crane it took to load THE CONTRAPTION into the back of the van.

Well, okay, I exaggerate a little there. But this thing – there was a nitrous tank, some other tank, and a massive cooler. Full of beer. And they were putting it into the back of the van – with me. Before we speculate on that, let me explain a bit: Darve is a home-brewer. He makes some damn fine beer, and several most delicious blends of mead. I’d go into details about what they’re actually called and such, but I don’t really remember what the true names of them are. I’d have to introduce them to you as “Make Me Think I’m a Bug That Tries To Hide The Furniture” Brew and “Leaves Me Comatose For A Week” Ale and the like. So we’ll skip the formalities, if you don’t mind.

This was a contraption, though. Phil expressed some concern over getting stopped by the police with what looked like a small hydrogen bomb in the back of his van. I helped by instantly assuming a Middle-Eastern accent and screaming about “Death to Imperialist Dogs!”

So Phil was already a bit flustered.

We departed and began our happy adventure. After driving for, oh, I dunno – an HOUR, we turned around and went back for the directions. To compensate for Phil’s frayed nerves, I composed the Happy Driving Song on the spot. The lyrics went something like this:

This is the Happy Driving Song,
Won’t you help and sing along!
We’re going to meet the Blackspire Guard
To find our way, we’ll try hard!
Not getting stopped would be nice,
‘Cause we can’t explain The Device!
It looks like a bomb, but never fear,
‘Cause it’s filled with tasty beer!

Phil carefully explained to me he would let go of my throat if I stopped singing. Being the shrewd negotiator that I am, I countered by offering to stop singing only if he let go of my throat AND stopped kicking my groin. He folded, and order was returned to the van. And the van was returned to the garage, so that Phil could run in and get directions. While Phil ran in, I tried to convince Darve how fun it would be if we peed on Phil’s seat. Darve turned this idea down. Some people.

Phil returned and we were off like a prom dress! To celebrate the occasion of our departure, I was about to compose another song, but Phil pointed menacingly to a fork he was carrying and then to my groin. I got the picture.

It was raining hard for the drive. If we had seen an ark cruise by us, I wouldn’t have been surprised. Phil compensated for this by slowing to 90 miles an hour. Which wouldn’t be so bad if Phil had any concept of slowing down, but to Phil there are only two modes of transportation: speeding up and stopping. If someone pulled out in front of us or was foolish enough to slow down to turn, he would compensate by stopping. The idea of going into the other lane to pass them was strange and foreign to him. I mentioned it briefly, but he countered by stating the obvious – there was a yellow line on the road, and if we dared to cross that, special black ops teams would be dispatched to kill our families. I wanted none of that, so I stuck to gripping the back of Darve’s seat and shrieking like a girl any time something got in our way.

We finally made it onto the highway, and that’s where the fun really began. Phil began camping the passing lane. Any cars that spawned there were instantly crushed beneath our tires to the accompanying sounds of Darve’s giggling and my pitiful shrieks from the back seat. At one point I invented a new deity when Phil suddenly noticed a car that had been in the left-hand breakdown lane for quite some time but only now had the decency to come to his attention when we were barely two miles from it. This rude surprise resulted in Phil’s almost cursing, gripping the steering wheel with both hands tighter than my grip on a pint of Ben & Jerry’s at a Richard Simmons camp, and coming THAT close to changing lanes. This new deity I invented was in charge of controlling your bladder in frightening situations, such as being surrounded by pygmy cannibal hordes, grenades landing next to you, Mormons ringing your doorbell, or being in Phil’s van during a downpour on the highway traveling at 100 miles an hour when he notices something that will pass four feet to his left if he doesn’t act quickly!

Some of you might ask why, if Phil is such a frightening driver, we allow ourselves to be transported in such a fashion? Well, the truth is, as terrible and unholy as Phil is as a driver, he is far, FAR worse as a passenger. Remember those episodes of the A-Team where they’d have to sedate Mr. T to get him to ride in an airplane? We have to do the same thing to get Phil to ride along anyplace. And sadly, the A-Team ended far too soon before giving us an opportunity to learn enough clever methods of slipping someone knock-out medicine. Phil now knows all of our methods, so we are forced to stoop to such blasé schemes as shooting him with tasers and stun guns until he goes down. And if you know Clerics, they’re not the sort to take being tasered gently.

The other reason is that Phil’s got a pretty bitchin’ van. And I’m far too lazy to drive that far.

So there we are on the highway, driving sailing through the worst downpour in a hundred years. Darve is in charge of directions, so it’s his job to call out things like, “that turn we just passed was the one you wanted” or “this area’s not on any map we have” or even “Kwip if you ask one more friggin’ time if we’re there yet, I’ll stab you in the throat myself!” We were given a small respite briefly when we crossed through some tunnel – Fort McHenry tunnel or something? It was a long enough break for us to pry Phil’s finger’s off of the steering wheel. He instantly went for my throat, but luckily we emerged back into the deluge and he had to go back to driving sailing.

Unbelievably enough, Yahoo gave us directions that were accurate enough to get us right to Maergain and Jazmyn’s house in only three hours! Although Yahoo said the trip would take us about an hour and 45 minutes, it actually took us closer to two and a half hours. Even with Phil setting the cruise control to 130 miles an hour. Apparently Yahoo doesn’t take into account biblical rains, missed turns and bathroom stops every two miles (yes, I have a little girly bladder, mock away). I’m considering some sort of lawsuit against them for this blatant oversight and obvious discrimination.

But – we arrived! Let me just tell you: if you’re any sort of respectable geek, Maer and Jaz have a home you would kill for. Believe me – if it weren’t for that left hook of Jaz’s and some surprisingly accurate groin shots with a frying pan, I would be writing this from a brand new Casa de Kwiplings.

First is a crafting room from which Jaz constructs costumes that would have any anime fan collapsing on the floor and drooling in catatonic amazement (six foot wings on that costume! With actual raven feathers! RAVEN FEATHERS, for Gord’s sake! I can’t even imagine what it would take to be able to conceive of some of the costumes she put together, let alone the actual skill to do so!). Next to that room is their computer room, with two computers for each of them and a fifth computer that is for – well, I don’t know. But it was a FIFTH computer, that’s the important bit here. And I heard a dirty rumor that they actually have MORE than that, I just didn’t see them… I dunno, maybe they had SkyNet in there. It honestly wouldn’t surprise me.

The living room had big bookshelves with just about every gaming system ever in them – yes, even Call of Cthulhu! I wasn’t allowed near them, though. Apparently, dry-humping a bookshelf full of gaming books is considered rude where they come from. I had to remember I was south of the Mason-Dixon, so new rules might apply.

While we engaged in watching some of the greatest Sci-Fi ever
put to DVD (Treasure Planet), I was working on a plan to
convince Maer & Jaz to adopt me.

Downstairs – oh, be still my beating heart. Look, I’m not by any stretch of the imagination into what people refer to as miniature gaming. But they had an entire room for Warhammer. The walls were done in this cool stone, and then lined with shelves hosting hundreds – perhaps even thousands of miniatures! There were houses, landscapes, temples – and the centerpiece of this room was a massive table that must’ve been captured from some WWII strategy room or something. That thing wouldn’t have looked out of place in a strategic command center – it was like God’s very own Risk board or something. Let me put it this way: that table was bigger than my ass. Yes. By an order of magnitude.

Finally, the entertainment room. It wasn’t a huge room, as these things go. But it had a very respectable-sized tv in it, a kick-ass theater system, and – most importantly – the walls were LINED with great flicks! From about halfway up the wall to the top, there were DVDs and VHS tapes of anything that is worth having. B5! They had the B5 Season: One DVD! And anime? I don’t know anything about anime, but if Ramen (whom I refer to when such a question arises) were present, I believe her exact words would have been “Holy shit!”

Things were starting to go badly when Maer explained the rules
he was going to insist upon for the next gathering, and
rules 1 through 10 were “No Kwip”

Jaz, being the wonder of any household skills imaginable, was already hard at work cooking breakfast for everyone. Pancakes! She was cooking pancakes for people, and she wasn’t even being paid! Not only was she cooking for people, but her and Maer had opened their home up to guests! To sleep at! And not just any guests – they actually let Tyros and Anson sleep over! This was beyond bizarre. I felt like I had stepped through the looking glass into some fantasy world, where geekdom is a respectable hobby and asking someone what level their main is passes as a perfectly normal and acceptable opening conversation piece.

Shad thinks that Anson is looking at the computer. Hee.

I know there are a number of guild members of Blackspire. What I didn’t know is that many of them are completely insane. People arrived there from Canada! That involved flying in a plane to get down here – just to meet their fellow players! And this wasn’t even a sponsored event – nobody was giving away free loot or anything! Let me go one step further into this strange world – not only were there about two dozen of us there, but there were GIRLS there, too! And they were HAWT! At one point, my mind began refusing to process information, being far too overwhelmed by the amount of contradictory statements being thrown at it.

The crowd continued to grow, too. By about 4pm, there were about two dozen of us there, talking, laughing, seeing how high we could make Anson jump with his stubby little legs, eating large amounts of food, drinking…er, actually, I did most of those last two. There was SOOOO much goodness abundant. And then Jaz made that fateful mistake. Nobody knew until it was too late. Kwipette normally takes charge of warning people about this, but she wasn’t around to protect anyone. Phil was off somewhere trying to explain why he STILL wasn’t 50th level, so he couldn’t do anything about it. Nobody else was alert enough to the danger to stop Jaz in time. Before anyone realized it, Jaz had…. she… she…

She baked a cake. A CHOCOLATE cake.

The first warning anyone got was the shuddering of the building as I came charging up the stairs from the entertainment room, nostrils flaring. People were knocked down, I think I trampled Anson – and there, there it was, on the table. It had CHOCOLATE ICING.

You can’t tell here, but my left hand is elbow-deep in
cake goodness. I was just beginning to smear it on my
body when this shot was taken.

Belatedly, some people realized something was wrong. Guild members tried to tackle me. Tranquilizer darts were fired, nets thrown – all of it to no avail. Before anyone could stop me, I had leapt on to the table and was making sweet, sweet love to the chocolate cake. That cake… mmmm… I’m not sure what happened the next couple of hours, as I was in a happy land I like to call, “Chocolate.”

If that wasn’t really horrific enough, someone had brought this incredibly delicious pork loin. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: who brings a pork loin to a cookout?

I’ll tell you who: the Angel of Goodness, that’s who.


I’m no expert on loins, pork or otherwise. And frankly, that’s not really a title I’m striving for. But this thing was so incredibly tasty, I can no longer watch a Babe the Pig movie without drooling. There was some sort of seasoning involved, I’m reasonably certain. It might possibly have been crack, it was that addicting. When I got so desperate that I was sniffing the inside of the wrapping it came in, we knew there was a problem…

Finally, we had trashed partied enough at Maer & Jaz’s and moved on to Jillians. For those of you not familiar with such a place, Jillians is like a Dave & Busters. Basically, it’s a huge bar/restaurant/arcade/arcade/arcade. And it’s huge. No, really – HUGE. Look at this map of the place if you don’t believe me. Big, huh?

The thing about this place being huge… Jillians is attached to a massive mall. Also attached to this mall is a 24-screen movie complex. And attached to the whole thing is a parking lot, which I lovingly refer to as “a fucking idiots idea of ‘ample room’.” In a massive entertainment place like this, call me radical, but I’d firmly expect to be able to come and maybe have to park far away. However, I would not expect to have to park on curbs, grass, sidewalks, pedestrians, or other vehicles. All of which we witnessed as we drove around looking for a parking space. Phil finally solved this dilemma by ramming a car out of a spot (and into a car full of nuns, but that’s another story – one that’s currently under investigation, so if anyone asks, we were in California that day, okay?). We then commandeered that spot as our own and even urinated on the lines to mark it.

Inside Jillians…woof. Someday, I really would like to be famous. I’d like people to come up to me and know who I am. I’d like to be surrounded by crowds of people, all eager to meet me.

Jillians was like that, only instead of people knowing who I was, they all thought my name was Ass Face and would address me as such: “Out of the way, Ass Face!” And instead of being eager to meet me, they were actually eager to get as close to me as possible without taking off any of my clothes.

If you don’t know me, well, let me just clarify: I don’t really like crowded places. Or noisy places. Or anyplace where I might get touched by someone I don’t know. Jillians failed on all three points. It was crowded, it was noisy, and it was full of people that would routinely rub their ass against mine and not even excuse themselves. Or tip me.

The best part was that there was another DC Players Gathering going on that I didn’t know about. So there was a small group of Mids there – Mids! – and we rolled up on them 30 thick, yo! I think it was the first time in a long time we’ve ever outnumbered Mids. They were amazingly cool, though. They let us join them at their tables and then we sat around trying to start a fight with any Shadowbane players that might be nearby…

I have to admit at being a bit disappointed in the game selection at Jillians. There were a couple of fun ones – Time Crisis, I think the one is called. But overall, most of their games were these silly racing games that not only did NOT allow you to ram your opponents, but they didn’t even include any machine guns OR missiles! However, there were two things working in Jillians favor: the first was their serving of a toxic substance cleverly disguised as an orange drink. The second was the firemen game. This game consisted of large hoses that you and a friend operated while doing battle with – well, fire. But the amount of peeing jokes you can do in a firefighting game, especially after a dozen orange drinks, is truly staggering. 

The evening there ended with some stirring rounds of a game called Hi-Life (I think?). This is a strange sort of bowling game. You control a bowling ball in a variety of scenes on a massive screen in front of you by rapidly spinning a large ball. Think of one of those track balls, only the size of a bowling ball. The scenes your bowling through include a forest, a busy downtown street – but nothing so mundane as a bowling alley! It’s quite fun. Of course then Shad SOUNDLY trounced me at this quick-draw game, destroying both my ego and my sense of masculinity, all in one foul swoop.

Finally, sadly, horrifically – it was time to go. Oh, we didn’t know it’d be horrific at first; we just thought we’d be facing another long drive home at worse. We said our farewells, hugged and kissed everyone (or tried to – Shad was a little TOO quick with the mace for me), and left for our exciting return trip. Getting out of the parking lot was roughly equivalent to playing a game of Tetris on the 10,000th level. While wearing oven mitts. And being beaten in the face with a mallet. But we finally cut off our last old lady, and out the parking lot we went! Now to get to the highway…

The thing to keep in mind is that we were leaving from a place we did not drive directly to. Most people, when faced with such a decision, would do something silly like, oh, I dunno, look at a map. Or maybe even be so radical as to drive back to the place the drove to in the first place so they could just reverse the directions. Or maybe, just maybe – you’d look at the signs as you left, looking for the highway you wanted to take you back home.

Not us! Phil and Darve felt completely confident that we could make it back with little problem. What I didn’t know is that in their language, “little problem” meant “we don’t know where the hell we’re going and are about to descend to the deepest level of hell, possibly continuing on to New Jersey, before we get desperate enough to actually look at the map.” I didn’t have any idea where we were going either, of course, but my idea consisted of looking for the place we came in at and reversing the directions. Simple. I like simple.

Phil, however, likes complex. Making statements like, “if we keep going this direction, we have to hit the highway SOME time…” he drove us off into the night. Instead of being safe and secure on a highway, we were now on the backwoods of Maryland, which I believe shows up on maps as “Bum Fuck Egypt” When we would come to an intersection, we’d pause for a moment and all stare in quiet horror at the idea of making a turn. I would say “right” and Phil would invariably turn left. This system of navigation was working fine for him. For a bit.

Remember in the beginning of this story (if you can remember back that long ago) when I was talking about the rains of biblical proportions? Well it turns out that once that water hits the ground, it doesn’t just go away like some of us like to believe. No, that water collects with other water, and makes what some people refer to as a “flood.” This, in turn, creates what are known in some areas as “flooded streets.”

We meet these. The first one was just a big puddle across the road that we barely noticed until we hydroplaned across it. The second was a hair deeper – about oh, let’s call it a FOOT to be fair. Finally, we came to the river.

“Dude, we can TOTALLY make that.”

Now the river USED to flow somewhere under the road. I assume there was a bridge under that rushing torrent somewhere. Phil was pretty shaken, muttering something about “never cross running water.” I took this to mean he was actually a vampire, but it turns out he was of the belief that automobiles aren’t really safe when they’re driven across large bodies of water. Especially large bodies of water that have foaming rapids in them.

We took some time to carefully discuss what we should do next. Phil was of the opinion we should turn around. Darve was also of the opinion that we should turn around. I, on the other hand, was of the opinion that they were a couple of big girly-girls, and if they’d only stop being such nancy boys, we could punch the throttle and make the half-mile wide span of river road.

I carefully explained my opinion to my travel mates.

“Well what?”
“Go forward!”
“What? Are you insane? We would never make it across!”
“Bah, don’t be such a wimp! We could make that – I bet it’s barely six inches deep!”

At this point, an ENTIRE TREE – about 100 feet long – floated by in the river road. This shook their resolve a bit.

“That current washed away a TREE.”
“Wow. Sure did.”
“A giant, huge BIG tree.”
“And you want us to drive across it.”
“…care to explain your reasoning?”
“Simple: the tree didn’t have FOUR WHEEL DRIVE, BABY!”

At this point, Darve, our faithful Magellan of the trip, broke down and consulted the map. According to his calculations, if we turned around and took the right (which I told them to in the first place!), we would cross over the highway a few miles up the road.

And you know what? We did cross over the highway! And a few miles after that, we crossed it again!

It appeared that while the highway was perfectly willing to accept the governing of the space-time continuum and appear at regular intervals, it was not at all inclined to have anything even remotely close to an “entrance ramp” sort of relationship with our road. After about the 500th time of crossing over it, Phil finally solved the dilemma by driving down the embankment and creating our very own special entrance ramp. When I attempted to point out the contradiction of nature in his choosing to wantonly defy the massive force of gravity by driving down a vertical embankment, and yet refuse to risk the pathetic pull of a tiny little current, he became defensive and began making vague threats about his boot and certain orifices.

Once we began drawing near Lancaster county, we assumed we were approaching the position some refer to as ‘safe.’ However, Fate likes to laugh as much as the next Incarnation, so played a couple of last-minute tricks on us. First, we drove through a batch of fog that I honestly expected to come through and find Nyarthlotep waiting for us on the other side. And then, just when I had grown accustomed to Phil’s method of driving through the fog (accelerate to 60 mph – brake – accelerate again to 60 mph – brake – etc, etc), he threw a new trick at me.

We safely traversed the fog, so Fate called on her buddy Nature to fire a raccoon across our path. It was about a good mile ahead of us when Phil spotted it and reacted with those lightning reflexes (gained by sitting behind a party in a fight and hitting the “heal group” spell every minute): he stomped on the brakes, shrieked like a little girl, and then firmly planted his feet on the windshield, pulling back on the steering wheel. I’m not sure, but I think Phil’s been playing a bit too much Jumpgate lately. Pulling back on the wheel in that game might have beneficial results there, but in the real world, all it does is deploy your airbag in a vastly humorous fashion and give the smart-ass in the backseat even MORE material to write about.

The raccoon, for those of you wondering, stopped, looked at us, giggled, shook it’s butt a bit, and then leisurely strolled off the road.

All in all, it was a great trip. I had a wonderful time, and it was very cool to finally be able to put faces with names. Er… at least the names of the girls. I remember all of them because, well, they were hot. The guys… I think there was somebody named Maer there, and he possibly owned the house?

If you are interested in the coolness that is Blackspire Guard, stop by and check out www.blackspire.org. You’ll see it hasn’t been updated in about fifty years, and you can then pop over to the forums and heckle Phil a good bit about that. He likes that.

…Failure to Communicate!

Okay, I’m going to upset a lot of people here, so brace yourselves…


ROLEPLAYERS ANNOY THE HELL OUT OF ME. (Not just the idiots that appealed Bottom, I mean.)

Okay, okay, not every roleplayer. You want to roleplay that you’re Duncan McDoofus of the Wanker line of wizardry, hey, more power to you! I like playing with normal roleplayers. But the people that really, really annoy me are the SUPER roleplayers. Know these guys? They’re the ones that are SO into their character, they have to type in an accent. And not just any accent, either!


Look, I’m all for throwing in some accent to ‘get into the mood.’ Saying things like “Aye, lass” and “I canna’ imagine such a thang” are fine. Even “She canna take much more o’ this, cap’n!” That’s understandable, not confusing, and pretty clear what you’re communicating. Let’s take a look at an example, shall we?

“Blast! I’m afraid we canna get ta tha keep in time, lad. Ye’ll have ta hold ’em off yerselves!”

Now, from this statement, we can understand the following:

  1. The speaker is speaking with what appears to be a Scottish accent.
  2. She is telling us her party cannot get to the keep to help with the defense in a timely fashion.
  3. The defense of said keep will fall upon those of us that are there.

Not too confusing, right?

Now let’s take a look at some… accented… speaking I heard tonite:

“Ach! Dis n gun do. Sure n us’n keen fin a wey tru dem devendurs. Ye’s gun haf ta hol dem walls yeself.”

From this statement, we can understand the following:

  1. Jack
  2. Shit

And I’m not so sure I understood the Jack part.

Hey, you want to roleplay the part of a barbaric… brain-damaged… um… confused… did I say brain-damaged?… stupid… umm… (some nationality that probably perished when one of their members tried to tell the others that his feet hurt and resulted in the rest of them thinking he said the Lord told him they should all throw themselves off of a cliff)… person. That is your right. Feel free!

However, you need to understand that everyone around you does not speak Idiot. Some of us are barely fluent in English, and although they may share the same linguistic origins, I assure you, the two have parted long, long ago (except for “inflammable” – that word’s still left over from Idiot). So if you begin to ask everyone around you for help speaking Idiot, or attempt to organize a raid speaking Idiot, or even mention to someone in Idiot that you are currently on fire, and would they, if they could, be so kind as to put you out? – don’t be surprised if everyone ignores you. Or simply piles kindling on the flames.

I mean, come on – back in the real world where your mother’s basement is your Lair of Doom and you routinely post to message boards that the correct pronunciation is “KEL-tic, not SEL-tic,” surely some part of you must be aware that the natural reaction of humans when faced with someone speaking a foreign tongue is to a) see if you can trick them into saying dirty words in your language, or b) see if they’ll teach you dirty words in their language. An interesting footnote here: I once had the ambition to learn how to say, “I didn’t do it!” in as many languages as possible. So far, I can only manage to say it in English and Klingon. Honest.

I appreciate your character was raised by wolves and barely grasped the concept of walking upright, let alone doing this crazy thing called “cooking your food” and not urinating on your bed to mark your territory. That’s swell. I admire your creativity. Hell, I applaud your dedication. But you have to keep in mind that part of role-playing is the PLAYING part. You have to give some leeway to the people around you – if it’s that important to you, hey, speak however you want. Grunt and thump your chest for all I care. But if you’re trying to tell someone something important, like “Hey, there’s 500 Mids over the next hill asking to borrow a cup of sugar,” a smart idea would be to suspend the heavy accent, communicate your message in clear, concise tones, and then get back to your picking flees from your pelt or rolling in the mud or humping a tree or whatever is important to your character.

Everyone around you will be very grateful to you. They might even take pity on you and role-play the part of the benevolent master that takes you under their wing to teach you the finer skills like bathing, walking upright and why fire bad!

They Kill People For That, Don’t They? Please?

We’ve all met someone like him.

Sometimes he’s on your side, sometimes, the enemies. Doesn’t really matter. It’s annoying no matter WHOSE side he’s on.

He had nothing to do with you getting killed, was nowhere NEAR you when you got killed, didn’t even see you GET killed… but he’s the first one to charge over, laugh at your corpse, and then sit on your head.

Doesn’t matter that you’ve killed him fifty times in a row prior to this, of course. Doesn’t even matter that he’s twenty levels beneath you and couldn’t even touch you in a fight, let alone kill you.

Because here he is, giving your corpse an asshat, and in his tiny little pea of a mind, that makes him cool.

It’s one thing if you get killed by someone in a good fight, one or even two on one, a nice give and take. Or when you get zerged, and are left lying in a broken heap by a vastly outnumbering and out-gunning opponent, but they merely roll on.


When you’ve just been steamrolled by a dozen uber ninjas that diced you into a dozen pieces before you could say, “Hrmm, I wonder what’s causing all this lag…” and then out pops Doofus T. Goombah in all his idiot glory. Running around, surveying the corpses of you and your fellow defenders like a neurotic buzzard before finally deciding whose face to settle on first. But not right away, of course. First you have to endure him taking half an hour to line up the ‘perfect’ screen shot that he’s obviously going to completely screw up before he posts it to message boards with such witty titles as “HA HA OMG!!!1!1! THES GUYZ R KILT N DED HAR HAR!!” or “HAY MID WAHT HAPENZ WEHN WE CATHC U ON R TURPH” or even “Here’s My Effort to Make Up for Years of Having to Share the Showers in Gym Class With Boys That Were WAY More Developed Than Me.”

And that’s bad. But even worse is when this goombah’s on YOUR side. If he’s on the enemy realm’s team, well, then he’s just one of their idiots, and aren’t they all like that, really? But when he’s on YOUR team…

Honestly, you just want to kill him yourself. See, that’s one thing I like about the PvP servers. The ability, nay, the very moral imperative, to punch someone in the throat if said person’s acting like a dolt. And usually you rank quite above that person, so it’s perfectly fine to do so. Not to mention fun.

So there you are, victorious after a good, clean fight (not counting your SC gear, of course), and Dufus D. Schmutz saunters up and begins sitting on your honorable foes’ corpse. It’s times like these that you really need a “Disband Goombah From Our Realm” button. If someone gets five votes in the space of ten minutes, they’re removed from all realms and anyone can not only kill them, but then gets not just xp or bounty points, but their entire corpse as a trophy, with which they can decorate their new home, drap from a keep flagpole, or just stuff with straw and create a rude puppet show with.

Never mind the muppets. Here comes the Goompets!

I’m a Product of My Upbringing

I’m worse than Pavlov’s dog, honestly.

I’m like Daffy Duck in the one cartoon – where as soon as someone rings a bell, he goes nuts and begins swinging at everything near him? Only I get beat up a LOT more.

The problem is that I’m conditioned to respond a certain way when I see a little even-conning lurikeen. I begin drooling and bouncing up and down – much like the same symptoms I exhibit walking through the frozen treats section of our local grocer.

Immediately, I’m slapping my zombie into action. Yes, slapping. You’ve heard of idiot savant? Well, I’ve got an idiot zombant. He can take down stuff that cons orange to him – but if I order that pile of putrescent flesh to come “here” or “stay,” for some reason that suddenly translates into “run way the hell over there until you die and I’m left with a sliver of health.” And it’s not like he’s choosing good times to do that, either – if I’m in town or in a safe area, you can bet he’ll stick to my heels like me on Gillian. But the second that it becomes possible – no, likely that I really need my health… For example, we’re sneaking through a horde of ogres into Krondon. Does he sit by my side, as a faithful pet should when commanded?

No, he charges straight off at the nearest ogre. I’m screaming, everyone in my party is screaming, and he’s skip-to-the-loo-da-daying straight at Shrek-boy. And let me tell you something: Shrek might be all cute and cuddly and a big softy in the movies, but when that guy and about a million of his cousins come screaming down at you, there’s no pretty princess, no funny songs, and no smart-alec donkey. There’s just a lot of pain, mister.

So back to my point: when it comes to getting my zombastich to follow orders, I’m fully of the “Spare the rod and spoil the evil-demented-creature-that-should-not-exist” school of parenting. I kick him into action quicker than Jackie Chan in a Hong Kong flick. Aman and I are out be-bopping around the Frontier, and everyone knows, the Frontiers are dangerous places. That’s the sort of reflexes that you need to properly survive in this deadly world of Realm vs. Realm, see? When I see a member of the enemy realm (especially one that we have outnumbered), I don’t play any of this ‘fair chance’ crap – I’m going straight for the throat, talking trash the entire time! It doesn’t really matter that the enemy can’t understand me, right? It is, as they say in my country, the thought that counts. And the obscenities.

Of course, sometimes, pausing to think wouldn’t always be a bad thing.

Right, co-operative server.

So about five seconds after this little fiasco I’m hauled before the guild leaders and left to explain my actions.

But see, the problem now is that I’m already angry, so it’s fair to say my reasoning is clouded. And then this troll walks up to me like he’s the head of my guild or something…

“Smeese, get that stupid rock-crunching excuse for a lump of ugly! Tear that stupid look of his stupid face! Blow his… er… oh. Co-op server. Right. Hah, what a kidder I am…”

You’ll Catch More Flies With Logic…

Hrm. Apparently, you mooks are out of control.

See, Sanya recently cornered me. She said it was either talk to her about the name change, or she threatened to teleport me to the Mid capital city.

After the sixteenth time of me turning up at the bindstone screaming “Wheeeeeee!,” she finally got tired of that little game and said I had to sit down and talk with her. Hrmph-ingly, I obliged.

It seems some people have been writing in to Mythic to complain about the Bottom issue. Yeah, the whole “An Idiot by Any Other Name Just Isn’t as Funny…” thing.

I complain about a lot of things. Usually, it’s just my way to vent my little frustrations at the world in a feeble attempt to make up for my sucktitude in a game. But occasionally, I rant about things that really make me mad. And this whole name thing was something that truly and honestly made me mad. I was mad about two things: 1) that someone was stupid enough to appeal that name. 2) that my appeal to the appeal received what looked to be a rote response, nothing more well-written than a form letter.

Now, there’s not much I’m going to be able to do about the first item. Apparently, there’s some people out there that are that anal. However, I did have a very low-key (I didn’t shout that much) conversation with someone about the name. They pointed out that while Bottom was a very common surname, it was rare for people to refer to each other by their surnames. A very good point, but when I replied it was pretty damn rare for names to float above people’s heads, that shut him up. However, on that point – I can definately see someone being that much of a fussy bastich. I think they’re idiots, of course, but I can at least respect that reasoning and agree on that point that they’re justified in appealing it.

The second issue… You know, I understand that you get a lot of emails. I know that it must be a thankless, pain in the ass to deal with. I sympathize how difficult people like me must be to deal with – and, let’s be honest here, I’m far more polite than many of the people I’m sure unleash their flurry of all the naughty words they learned on the playground that day at you. I cannot imagine how frustrating that must be.

But. You agreed to do a job. Yes, it’s a difficult, thankless job. We all know that. But we – the people you’re writing to – aren’t all illiterate, anti-social 13-year-olds that refuse to accept we can’t have our way and will just throw a tantrum when you tell us ‘no.’ Granted, I might like to act like that, but in truth, I can deal pretty well with a mature rejection. I’ve had years of dating to acclimate myself to it, after all. Consider this, the original response:

On our Roleplaying Servers, we require players to use names which fit within the “spirit of the game.” This means that we require players to use proper birth-names, rather than nicknames, descriptions, references to personal history or past deeds, etc. As such, the name BOTTOM was inappropriate.

Now compare that to this:

So, basically, Bottom is a swell name. So is Dick, short for Richard. And neither of them can be in the game, because there will literally be thousands of people complaining about how much we suck for not getting rid of the Bad Names. Sometimes, the majority wins, even if the majority is not too terribly well-read. It’s one of those things you have to cope with in a massively multiplayer game. I’m sorry.

See the difference? If you don’t, try slamming your head in the door a few times, then go back and read it. Seriously though, acknowledging that my name, while being proper in one very real sense, will cause a HUGE stir amongst a majority of players – I can totally relate and understand that. Furthermore, I now feel that my appeal was actually read, and that while I might have had a valid point, it wasn’t enough of a valid point. That’s a perfectly acceptable premise to me. I have no idea understanding how much of a pain the player base can be.

After all, I’m one of them.

I think the difference between someone that just does their job versus someone that does their job well is attention to detail. Yes, it’s obvious I’m not going to like you changing my name. However, if you take the time to explain to me that while I may have the moral high ground, in reality, you have to sell a product and your job in doing that is keeping the majority happy – you know what? I can deal totally with that. With such an explanation, my anger quickly transfers from you to the little bastiches who appealed my name…oh yeah, I’m coming for you, buddy!