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T O P I C
Agricultural industry sues Mythic
February 6th 2002, 15:34 CET by Paul Montgomery

It was inevitable that the practice of selling characters and items from MMORPGs on eBay and other online auction sites - called "farming", according to jafd - would become institutionalised, and start really annoying the game developer community. The quaintly-named BlackSnow Interactive has made the first pre-emptive strike by suing Mythic Entertainment, makers of Dark Age of Camelot.

Mythic Entertainment is named as the defendant in this case filed on Febuary 5th 11:50AM involving various anti-trust, copyright, and anti-competitive issues. BlackSnow Interactive (BSI) is a group of individuals that play, buy, and sell in various Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG). Growing from only one person nearly two years ago, to seven full-time people, this group has successfully developed a market in which they are able to supply players with gaming currency, items, or characters at competitive prices. Mythic wants BSI to cease all sales immediately.

After entering the DAoC market, shortly after its release, BSI created a website and began listing their sales on various auction sites, such as Ebay. BSI's Director of Sales, Lee Caldwell, was quoted as saying, "What it comes down to is, does a MMORPG player have rights to his time, or does Mythic own that player's time? It is unfair of Mythic to stop those who wish to
sell their items, currency or even their own accounts, which were created with their own time. Mythic, in my opinion, and hopefully the court's, does not have the copyright ownership to regulate what a player does with his or her own time or to determine how much that time is worth on the free market."

Caldwell goes on to say, "Mythic's attempt to stifle competition in their own game makes it possible for only full-time gamers to succeed in the game and most MMORPG players can't compete on that level. The person that plays just a few hours a week, can't put in the
time required to build their character or collect the items needed to join others in the online battles. No one has stood up to any of these software giants, until now."

The legal documents linked from their press release reveal that BSI is an "unincorporated association", which might call into question their business credentials. The actual charges claim that Mythic has "attempted to exert monopoly-like control over uncopyrightable material", and that it can't "use its licence agreement in an anti-competitive fashion to control what has developed into a vibrant, lucrative free-enterprise market system". To add to all that, BSI is clamouring for a "Gamers' Bill of Rights", for which a fighting fund has been established with the customary Paypal donation facility.

Need I say anything more? People, put the "cuss" into "Discuss"!
C O M M E N T S
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#1 by "jafd"
2002-02-06 15:35:23
kallisti@hell.com http://jafd.isfuckingbrilliant.com
I'll have to keep this short, since my writing time is limited these days.

I've been on all three sides of the virtual sale of +12 swords - seller, buyer, and horrified observer. So I can speak with some certitude along with my opinion.

The nature of the current disagreement over this issue is an utter waste of time. In UO, the first PIG of this type? Before they had GMs making items for cash, there were GMs making items for sex.

Well, perhaps not. At least you can count on, there were GMs making items in hopes of getting sex.

Mythic, Verant, and any other company hoping to participate in this Elven-ridden genre, has to face facts. They simply cannot have it both ways on this issue. Either they will have a popular game that people pay money for, and all parties concerned will naturally want to do everything they can to get value for that money - or the items and time involved in the game do indeed have no value, because no one wants to play it. Perhaps.

There's too much money involved here for the current legislative pea soup over virtual property to last; what then? It would seem that some companies want to totally prohibit the practice from occuring at all; it would also seem that some people haven't actually researched the events leading up to and surrounding the Prohibition period in U.S. of A. history.

Or, bunk that, look to the "War on (Some) Drugs." Isn't it nice? That's about as illegal as it can be, yet the U.S., not to mention most of the world, is still gripped in many areas by rampant use and abuse. Not to mention, the free availability of alcohol and aspirin. Neither of which I seem to recall instruction in the proper healthy use of being offered at my local college while I was there. "What's that I hear in the wind? Legislation? Oh, hooray! Now we don't have to think quite so much!"

Look to the fact that in spite of the total inanity of the litigants' position, and consider that no matter the outcome in the courts; the trade will go on. Unless the courts are going to end up handing down a decision that acknowledges what's so, no solution will be available to put in place that benefits any but the most fringe and lawless. Even - dare I say it - cheating fucktards? Aye, I darest sayest itest.

"Hi there sweetie! I will be nice to you, and compliment you on your appearance. I bet if I do that ten times in a row, the 90% of you that aren't crap will hardly notice when I quietly find that 1 in 10 kind of guy who has too much stuff and not enough attention. Tee hee!"


"Hi there. Is that jackass bothering you as much as me? Yeah, LOL!! You're right. Hey, I know a great place where we can *cough* pair up on a two-spawn. *rimshot* Say, do you happen to have a magic weapon? No? Oh, well I happen to have one here... the first one's free.


If you outlaw whoring, then only outlaws will whore. If you kill the whores, the johns will whore each other. What's a globally syndicated capitalistic franchise to do?

I don't know, but I have a whole bag of laissez faire right here. Meanwhile, I'll be playing a little Wizardry on the Tiny God that my Enchantress built.
#2 by "Ashiran"
2002-02-06 15:41:24
ashiran@ashrain.net www.wtfpeople.com
Why is Mythic trying to stop that? If people want to blow money on chars and/or stuff then that's their problem, not Mythic's.

It can't be stopped anyway.
#3 by "jafd"
2002-02-06 15:41:49
kallisti@hell.com http://jafd.isfuckingbrilliant.com
Morn says I suck for posting topics without permission, so I'll stop now. Errata:

1) PIG stands for Persistent Internet Game. Just like a MMOG, except it is pronounceable, more accurately descriptive, and doesn't involve having to be the bitch in a Mr. Sony / Mrs. Verant mindshare sandwich.

2) Oh I forgot, to say "First Post." And I thought I was being clever, dammit.

3) In case anyone is wondering if my verbiage was placed as #1 post as part of a setup, well, it was. Duh.

4) Don't anyone be mean to me in this thread. I've got two white and two colorless ready to roll as soon as Morn tells me to start fucking.
#4 by "m0nty"
2002-02-06 15:43:39
m0nty_au@bigpond.com no fixed abode
Ashiran (#2):
Why is Mythic trying to stop that? If people want to blow money on chars and/or stuff then that's their problem, not Mythic's.

If anyone sees a response by Mythic, please link it here ASAP. I couldn't find a reply, but I feel the need to include both sides of the story like a responsible journalist would.
#5 by "mrbloo"
2002-02-06 15:45:35
mrbloo2000AThotmailDOTcom
I got a link the other week to an ebay auction where someone was selling 2000GP for $200.  That's a fairly impressive exchange rate.  An artificial game world currency worth as much as the old French franc.

Why would they want this stopped anyway?  Would they like to sell the items themselves?  How could it be stopped?  I'm waiting for the day when the little knackers in the street are selling +12 DAoC swords instead of dope.
#6 by "Bailey"
2002-02-06 15:59:11
www.ashrain.net
Frankly, this surprises me. Mythic engineered their game so that weapons above your level are useless to you. That Sword of Wang-Shaking +12 will take damage quickly and lose it's power in the hands of a level 5. If you're the appropriate level for the item in question, I doubt you'll have much trouble at all snagging one. Moreover, high-level stuff is usually a one-drop quest item, meaning you can only loot that particular quest reward once in your character's life, so unless you're willing to level up to 40 once a week, how l33t can this gear possibly be?

Now, I know the new Epic Zones are supposed to have different item drops, but if so, hell, Mythic must've known people would be farming this crap. The only viable stuff to be selling in DAoC, as far as I can see, is crafted high-level armor or weapons, as they're hideously difficult and time-consuming when you pass a skill of 500 or so.

So I'm really curious of Mythic's actions, what's the issue here?
#7 by "mrbloo"
2002-02-06 16:06:34
mrbloo2000AThotmailDOTcom
"it's power" Bailey?  crash will be very disappointed :)
#8 by "wizard"
2002-02-06 16:17:56
wizardque@yahoo.com http://www.opencrap.org
#1 jafd
I'll have to keep this short, since my writing time is limited these days.

I agree, they won't be able to stop it, they need to accept it...  but don't scare me by saying that was a short one.  :)

-wizard
English is my 5th language.
#9 by "m0nty"
2002-02-06 16:24:32
m0nty_au@bigpond.com no fixed abode
To clarify further exactly what happened, here's an extract from Page 6 of the lawsuit document:

19. Within the last twelve months, Plaintiffs listed various Account Items, such as gold coins, on the eBay auction site (the "eBay Listings"). Pursuant to eBay's Verified Rights Owner Program, MYTHIC filed a sworn statement that Plaintiffs' eBay Listings offer product or contain material which violates MYTHIC's copyright, trademark, or other rights. As a result, in January 2002, eBay suspended Plaintiffs' registration and temporarily shutdown all of Plaintiffs' listings.
20. On January 30, 2002, eBay sent Plaintiffs an Informational Alert that MYTHIC had until February 13, 2002 to file an action seeking a court order prohibiting the relisting of Plaintiffs' items.
21. On January 31, 2002, Plaintiffs received a letter from MYTHIC's counsel threatening to commence court proceedings unless MYTHIC receives written confirmation that Plaintiffs will not attempt to relist the items or other DAoC items on eBay or otherwise attempt to sell these items to others.
#10 by "flamethrower"
2002-02-06 16:49:07
nopedope thnxbro
PIG

I... fucking... like it.



Nice abbrevation to bleat to the morg wankers (they'll stop being wankers when their fucking 21st Century games look almost as good as Doom does on the Gameboy).
#11 by "Cliff"
2002-02-06 16:52:31
cps46@earthlink.net http://www.opencrap.org
My Google-fu is weak today, so I cannot seem to locate the article; but there is a phenomenon in the gambling world that might shed some light on this.  The following is from my recollection of "an article I read somewhere a few weeks ago," minor and major details could be off.

In recent years, there has been an increasing number of professional gamblers.  Not in the card shark/hustler sense, but in the sense of salaried employees who work for a company.  The company fronts them cash, they join one of the blackjack tables, and playing in accordance with a strict set of rules (iirc at times even openly consulting statistical tables) they make small but steady returns over the course of a day or evening.  They might lose four hands in a row, but at the end of an eight-hour shift they are some percentage ahead; so it requires an investment of both time and money, which is where the company comes in.  Employees get a fixed salary, not a cut or commission.  I think this phenomenon was especially prominent in California.

It's all quite openly done; some of the workers even wear nametags identifying them as such.  The casinos tolerate this behaviour for a few reasons; the only one I can recall with any certainty is that the professionals are making their money off the other players anyway.  Other reasons I'm less sure of: the professionals pull in other players, and are clean-cut and well-behaved.  I recall there even being some speculation in the article that the casinos were kicking back some dough to the companies involved.  Casual casino visitors didn't seem to mind, with some even enjoying the idea of scoring off an accountant style player.

At first glance, none of this would appear to apply to PIGs -- buying a +12 whatever means you don't need to log on for forty hours, after all.  But as jafd points out, trying to stop this kind of trade is an enterprise doomed to failure.  So it may make more sense for the companies running the PIGs to either explicitly support such transactions and take a cut -- a la Project Entropia -- or to look for ways in which farming can improve, or at least not worsen, the game for others -- requiring adherence to a code of conduct, or membership in an accredited group, for instance.

OMG, that's as on-topic as I've ever been.

© 2002  Cliff's Ass Productions, Uninc.
#12 by "Bailey"
2002-02-06 17:08:52
www.ashrain.net
Wow flamey, you'll really be sticking it to those MMOG kiddies using a phrase they discarded as long as two years ago. PIG is attributed to being coined by Hedron of LtM, and much like "hella", never quite caught on.

I don't care for the term MMOG, but I care even less for celebrating Hedron.
#13 by "flamethrower"
2002-02-06 17:12:04
nopedope thnxbro
trying to stop this kind of trade is an enterprise doomed to failure


trying to stop ANY trade isn't eterprise and is doomed to failure


few Americans want the War on Turrzim to go anywhere near as well as the War on Drukqs.
#14 by "flamethrower"
2002-02-06 17:13:37
nopedope thnxbro
Bailey... well sew my lips up and call me a refugee from the Taleban, you're right - you ARE a fag.
#15 by "Bailey"
2002-02-06 17:32:39
www.ashrain.net
Do all your witty repartees come from recycled and self-satirical OMM commentaries, flamey, or do you just really like Chet? Try opting for another untapped and un-emulated comedic source sometime, such as JeffK, I'm sure your ribald antics will become even more original and stunning at that point.
#16 by "Hoodoo"
2002-02-06 17:48:46
Mythic and other companies want to stop the sales because it creates a group of people who go around item-farming and power-leveling who often get in the way of the players who just want to have fun. It's worse in EQ where you have to camp rare spawns for unique drops. In that game you can get people item-farming the drops and other players don't have a chance to get the items.

But I agree that it's not going to stop no matter what the courts decide. It's like warez. It just goes underground.
#17 by "jafd"
2002-02-06 17:51:19
kallisti@hell.com http://jafd.isfuckingbrilliant.com
#0 Paul Montgomery
Need I say anything more?

Hard to say. Did you need to say anything at all?

[07:31] <jafd> Thanks mr0n for the correction (to Paul Montgomery's trivial typo in the title). I care about m0nty's reputation, even if he doesn't.
[07:32] <jafd> I don't care too much, as well, so I'm not going to push for my name being stricken from the body of the topic. He didn't exactly have permission to quote me, but I'm not exactly a real person. Fuck it. d:
[07:32] <Sgt_Hulka> jafd is a figment of Hulka's imagination
[07:33] <m0nty> what about my reputation?
[07:33] <m0nty> oh yeah
[07:33] <jafd> Also, m0nty failed to research and link to www.playersauction.com; which I thought for sure would get in there someplace, as it is totally relevant.
[07:33] <jafd> And those scheming fuckers need the cold light of attention a lot more than I do, that's for sure.
[07:33] <m0nty> the topic was already too long as it was
[07:34] <jafd> Too long because you fucking cut and pasted more text than you wrote yourself! Ahh!


Oh, I'd like to sit around and do this all day, but I can not. Alas.

I'll be back in a few hours and see if Tweety shows up here and lays it down for us, or whether someone has to "Reporter! Go to press, +C, +V" what she says wherever she says it. Because either Mythic is stupid, and needs to get some spin out, or Mythic is decidedly very Very Not Stupid, and needs to get some spin out. In either case... ooh! shiney! a spinning top... duck!

Incidentally, I hope Scott is contractually required to lurk silently on this. I can't imagine the horror if Lum shows up anywhere speaking about this issue in any fashion whatsoever. Few who remember back that far probably remember his opinion; and, has it changed? Has it not? Aieeeee! The mind would boggle at the possibilities, if it wasn't so funny watching these corporate behemoths lumbering from pinhole to pinhole, plugging up a dyke that has an equal amount of water on both sides of it. Adding Palmolive isn't going to help, you know. Once you have items of value that human beings can trade back and forth, you're already soaking in it.

Oh, for those of you playing along at home and struggling to keep up, one of the more fascinating issues at play in this story is whether or not Mythic is going to overshadow, or be overshadowed by Verant in this arena.

It doesn't need to be said that Verant would be very happy if Mythic's lawsuit went their way, and it doesn't need to be said that Verant is scared shitless that it doesn't go Verant's way. That is to say, what happens if Mythic ends up finding a solution to the pernicious dilemna that all free commerce brings, that doesn't involve obedience under pain of death? A substantial number of people suddenly get bored of EQ overnight, that's what happens. Whether or not farmers and griefers and elves are made happy or unhappy by this is rather a bit of a by-product. What's key here is the perception; if Mythic can stomp out irresponsible trading, they get bonus points. If they can't, they just get a few less; since DAoC is remarkably free of the inispid loot situation that plagues EQ to this day.

In either case, EQ looks a little bit stupid(er), in the sense that they are now in the position where they certainly aren't going to hire lawyers for Mythic, but certainly wish they could do so without risking the whole besotted masquerade crumbling down. Sure, sure, I can hear the audience cry, I can hear the boardrooms echo from here: "It isn't that big a deal."

What few members of either group understand, is that it wasn't a big deal until a bunch of clueless fucktards got involved. It happened all the time in UO, Originea gazed bemusedly and chuckled behind their rictus of fear, nothing much happened.

EQ came, the daily volume traded got a lot bigger, some coroporate fists clenched down the way corprorate fists are wont to do.

Now? Some much smaller and much more pissy corporate fists are attacking Goliath from the side with fewer resources. Imagine that, pressure builds and expands and seeks the point of easiest egress. I think there was a time once when the former market leader, R. Garriot, could have capped the nascent volcano, but he didn't really do that, did he?

Nope. Sat in his fruity throne, he wasn't "King," but no one calls God "King" much anymore, do they? He sat there and pronounced, "Lo! Golden coins ought to be found upon Ebay!" and, *poof*, there's the camel's nose. Since then there's been no shortage of handmaidens lining up for a future day where they can take turns putting make up on the camel's lips and riding it to Cibola, the fabled city where one merely must wait beneath the trees for sustenance to sprout fully formed every 23.5 minutes. Jesus wept.

Will a new precedent be set, or a (barely) functional one be upheld? If the former; neat, the market is screaming for a leader now, and anything that might be tried is likely to be better than the current dog-and-pony show the black market has got going on. If the latter? Neat, the pressure builds and the next time the issue comes up and the courts are turned to for a solution, maybe there'll be enough integrity around to keep the slackers and loafers from spoiling it for everyone. Still, or again. Bleah.

This could all happen tomorrow, too. Neat, huh? It probably won't, but hey, if cusp events happened all the time, they wouldn't really be "cusps," would they?

Also, it probably won't be "neat," either, litigation is messy, period. Normally I'm not in favor of this kind of crap, however... these monstrous creations of profit have been running around unchecked long enough, there just isn't any more carpet for Sony, Microsoft, et al. to sweep all the nasty dirt under.

Best case: a rare Judge spawn drops a Wand of Accountability and someone who isn't a grabby, greedy, and guiltless executive wins the random on it. (Note that pretty much everyone in the world is in favor of this outcome aside from a) thieves and b) the "owners."). Worst case? Some honest but basically clueless person in a position to have a tremendous impact on online gaming as we know it, gets swayed into thinking that, "yeah, it would be a really good idea if selling +12 swords was a felony. That just sounds dangerous from any point of view."

I'd prefer to live in a world 20 years from now that didn't have outlaws running a brisk and fundamentally untraceable trade in "virtual goods" that causes not only my online experiences, but that of thousands of other non-criminals and non-exectutives to be more of a pain in the ass than it has to be. You dig? Now is the time for serious issues like this to be handled intelligently and reasonably, for the benefit of everyone who might be involved in this issue, instead of just the benefit of a few.

I don't care who wins. As long as the vast majority of honest users are counted amongst the winners. Until then, surprise! A vast amount of general bitching will continue to rumble amongst them. Which is a) boring, b) unprofitable, and c) akin to a virtual Hell on a virtual Earth. It cannot last.

Can Mythic?



p.s. No more free topics from me until the negatives arrive in my mail, Morn. 10x 10x 10x NO! Also, no more cybering until you do that thing you promised. I really mean it this time!!!
#18 by "Spatula Man"
2002-02-06 18:09:23
llama@verbalchilli.com www.verbalchilli.com
jafd is the new horlicks.
#19 by "Bailey"
2002-02-06 18:11:13
www.ashrain.net
jafd

I'll be back in a few hours and see if Tweety shows up here and lays it down for us, or whether someone has to "Reporter! Go to press, +C, +V" what she says wherever she says it.

Tweety's response domain is mostly the Camelot Vault boards... best bet on finding a response, assuming they reach an official stance anytime soon, should you be willing to wade through the mental detritus of the "fans".
#20 by "Hoodoo"
2002-02-06 18:32:24
Tweety rarely posts on the Vault anymore. Mythic's buttoned down the hatches after the natives in DAoC got on the warpath after they realized the game has some big holes in it.

It's a bit disappointing because Mythic pledged to provide superior customer service, "revolutionary" they said. They have virtually no dialog with their players at this point.

What was Lum's stance on selling characters and items? That it should be allowed or outlawed?
#21 by "m0nty"
2002-02-06 18:45:51
m0nty_au@bigpond.com no fixed abode
Hoodoo (#20):
What was Lum's stance on selling characters and items? That it should be allowed or outlawed?

Don't blame Lum. He doesn't even want to be Lum any more, judging by his comments at brokentoys.org. Just plain old Scott Jennings. Which is fair enough.
#22 by "Warren Marshall"
2002-02-06 18:50:19
warren_AT_epicgames.com http://www.epicgames.com
Hoodoo
It's a bit disappointing because Mythic pledged to provide superior customer service, "revolutionary" they said. They have virtually no dialog with their players at this point.

I think to some extent, customer service is a two way street.  If you treat the company decently, they'll be more willing to help you out when you ask questions.  It's like those celebrity prank calls ... specifically the Arnold ones to Gateway.  "Sir, if you won't keep this on a professional level, I'm going to hang up the phone".

Keep kicking that dog and it'll eventually stop coming around ...
#23 by "Warren Marshall"
2002-02-06 20:21:38
warren_AT_epicgames.com http://www.epicgames.com
To sum up ...  DUH!
#24 by "LPMiller"
2002-02-06 20:35:47
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
#20 Hoodoo
Tweety rarely posts on the Vault anymore. Mythic's buttoned down the hatches after the natives in DAoC got on the warpath after they realized the game has some big holes in it.

It's a bit disappointing because Mythic pledged to provide superior customer service, "revolutionary" they said. They have virtually no dialog with their players at this point.

What was Lum's stance on selling characters and items? That it should be allowed or outlawed?


So. Not. True.
#25 by "Hoodoo"
2002-02-06 20:39:33
What was "so not true"? That Tweety doesn't post much on the Vault boards anymore? That Mythic's Mark Jacobs didn't promise revolutionary customer service? Or that Mythic has virtually no dialog with players?

I guess the last is debatable. They have no official message boards, though, and their participation on the Vault boards has really dropped off. I'm not sure how you have a dialog if one side is talking and the other side isn't.
#26 by "crash"
2002-02-06 20:42:41
oh, boy, a topic i actually know something about. gotta go to an interview though, so i can't type a jafd-length diatribe. consider this a placeholder until i get back.

oh, and my personal opinion on this: the real-world sale for real-world cash of virtual items in a game someone else owns and maintains is a bonus, not a "right". the litigants will lose, unless Mythic decide to throw them a settlement bone--which, based on the knowledge i have of Mark Jacobs/Mythic, is real close to "not too mothafuckin likely".

be back later. wish me luck.
#27 by "Paul"
2002-02-06 20:42:55
deleted deleted
This topic reminds me of a topic on a few craps ago, when Andy Smith posted an article on id and how they own custom made maps.

Look, it's there game, and you subscribe to their rules upon the install.

If you don't like their rules, you have the option of not playing the game.
#28 by "Hoodoo"
2002-02-06 20:44:38
"Keep kicking that dog and it'll eventually stop coming around ..."

Except when the dog wants to be fed or the game company wants to keep those monthly fees coming in.

Mythic can't be surprised by discontented players. If they are, then they didn't know what they were getting into. They had UO, EQ, AC, AO, and WWII Online as examples.
#29 by "Terata"
2002-02-06 20:45:08
Why is Mythic trying to stop that? If people want to blow money on chars and/or stuff then that's their problem, not Mythic's.


It creates customer service issues.  Riddle me this:

1) I am selling the Giant Codpiece of Strength on eBay for $150.
2) You, being someone who doesn't want to take the time to get it yourself, buy it.
3) We exchange e-mails, and agree to meet at place X at time Y.
4) You send me the payment.
5) You go to place X, wait past time Y, but I never show up.  I have ripped you off.

At this point, what happens?  A lot of people will go to the company running the game for retribution: "Player Z ripped me off for $30, ban him!"  The company doesn't have anything to go on here, I didn't even necessarily give you a real character name or anything, but they've now got an irate customer to deal with.  Even if it IS a real character name, they don't know you sent me the money or what our agreement was, and don't want to ban me just because you said so.

Likewise I could sell you a character, give you the account info, then turn around and report that you stole my account and I need the name/password so I can get it back, or whatever.  Again, maybe that's what happened, maybe not -- the company can't know for sure and they're in a very nasty position because of it.
#30 by "Bailey"
2002-02-06 20:45:12
www.ashrain.net
Warren

What?! That's shocking and outrageous! I'm playing their game! I'm paying an extravagent $9.95 a month! I'm doling out abuse, and they'll fucking well take it!!! *

...what? Ok mom, I'll be off the computer in a minute. Hurr, bluh, eating three pounds of mini-snickers bars in one sitting.

Aside from my usual bitching about the lost love of language in north american society, just what the hell happened to good manners and having one's perspective firmly esconced in reality?

* Not really.
#31 by "wizard"
2002-02-06 20:55:24
wizardque@yahoo.com http://www.opencrap.org
#21 m0nty

Don't blame Lum. He doesn't even want to be Lum any more, judging by his comments at brokentoys.org. Just plain old Scott Jennings. Which is fair enough.


Speaking of my idol (we all know I loved ltm), I think he was awfuly nice to eldin over all...  considering what eldin posted on sites as opposed to what scott posted...  I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been that nice...

Eldin's final @#%$

Scott's swell well wishing

-wizard
English is my 5th language.
#32 by "Bailey"
2002-02-06 20:56:16
www.ashrain.net
Hoodoo

I guess the last is debatable. They have no official message boards, though, and their participation on the Vault boards has really dropped off. I'm not sure how you have a dialog if one side is talking and the other side isn't.

What, Tweety having "told the entire Vault board to shut up until they could be polite to each other" isn't an open, honest dialogue? She gets props for that. Mad proppage ensues. Ensuing... now!

Props.

End prop-giving.

If the kids aren't listening, why the hell would you bother talking to them? Silent treatment's a bitch when you're only six years old. (please note the above occured Nov 15th)
#33 by "Evi|ivE"
2002-02-06 21:05:30
For one thing these items are not even real.  Ebay even has rules against selling stuff that isn't a real object, but they rarely enforce it.

I don't blame Mythic for not wanting people to sell stuff.  It is bad for the game.  When people are playing for profit they do not fit in with the spirit of these types of games.  They are always the most selfish assholes you'll meet in-game.  

Not only that but like I said.  The items aren't real.  They are on a database on a hard-drive somewhere.  If they're database should happen to get wiped out, why would they want to deal with angry customers out for blood because they lost their three thousand dollar character?

And what is laughable is this "company" that is sueing.  I sure hope they are paying their taxes now that they have drawn this attention on themselves.  They should get a real job and move out of their parent's basement.  They don't own these non-existant items in the first place.
#34 by "Warren Marshall"
2002-02-06 21:10:31
warren_AT_epicgames.com http://www.epicgames.com
Hoodoo
Mythic can't be surprised by discontented players. If they are, then they didn't know what they were getting into. They had UO, EQ, AC, AO, and WWII Online as examples.

Sure, but who should they pay attention to?  The small segment who are upset at all times, no matter what they do ... or the larger segment who are generally happy and just enjoy the game?

It gets back to the hardcore/casual gamer argument ...

The casual gamers are more reasonable, they don't burn you at the stake for every little thing you do and they sometimes, *gasp*, appreciate the work you put in!  Who would have thought ...
#35 by "Cliff"
2002-02-06 21:14:46
cps46@earthlink.net
Hoodoo #28
"Keep kicking that dog and it'll eventually stop coming around ..."

Except when the dog wants to be fed or the game company wants to keep those monthly fees coming in.

Mythic can't be surprised by discontented players. If they are, then they didn't know what they were getting into. They had UO, EQ, AC, AO, and WWII Online as examples.

God knows that every single one of those dogs is starving and soon to come around to a more tardass licking position.  Any.  Fucking.  Moment.
#36 by "Cliff"
2002-02-06 21:17:12
cps46@earthlink.net
Evi|ivE #33
For one thing these items are not even real.

Neither is software, it's just ones and zeroes, right?  

If you want to make statements like this, please elaborate on your understanding of the word 'real.'  Might want to go for some Philosophy 101 first.  Warning:  you'll end up less certain than you were.

Here's my basic rule of thumb:  if people will pay for it, it's real enough.  For the buyer and seller, at least.
#37 by "Cliff"
2002-02-06 21:19:53
cps46@earthlink.net
Bailey #32
If the kids aren't listening, why the hell would you bother talking to them? Silent treatment's a bitch when you're only six years old. (please note the above occured Nov 15th)

Their may be gamers of IQ > max_tard that have legitimate gripes, but simply don't post because of the noise levels.  Doing CS sucks, and customers being idiots, even if it's a vocal minority drowning out the rest -- heck, even if it's a vocal majority is no reason to give up on it.  That's what CS is.  War, in the shit-filled WWI trenches.
#38 by "Cliff"
2002-02-06 21:20:32
cps46@earthlink.net
Spelling, dashery: terrorists.
#39 by "wizard"
2002-02-06 21:23:00
wizardque@yahoo.com http://www.opencrap.org
#34 Warren Marshall

It gets back to the hardcore/casual gamer argument ...

The casual gamers are more reasonable, they don't burn you at the stake for every little thing you do and they sometimes, *gasp*, appreciate the work you put in!  Who would have thought ...

Don't condemn all of us hardcore gamers because a good portion of them are losers with issues about playing nice with others.  

Personally, I love games, I complement the monkeys that do it well (such as Red Alert 1 and 2), IMHO, and I mention hopefully helpful suggestions for the ones I like but didn't think quite cut it (like Age of Wonders...  close, but no cigar...it had the potential, but just missed it with the cities being mostly useless and only real point to build armies at a break neck pace).

-wizard
English is my 5th language.
#40 by "Cliff"
2002-02-06 21:32:39
cps46@earthlink.net
wizard #31
From
"Scott's swell well wishing:"

[The ~3K in dispute is] not that much in the scheme of things - for a while there I was shelling out about a grand a month out of my own pocket to meet LtM's operating expenses.

Sweet. Fucking. Christ.

I had no idea.
#41 by "Matthew Gallant"
2002-02-06 21:35:29
seeker@truemeaningoflife.com http://truemeaningoflife.com
#32 Bailey
If the kids aren't listening, why the hell would you bother talking to them? Silent treatment's a bitch when you're only six years old.


Polite feedback/Offensive screed is a false dilemma if there ever was one. Polite people who pay $9.95 a month are even less likely to effect change as angry people paying $9.95 a month. Money is what talks, and even then, $9.95 is only a whisper. Why does Mythic have to do anything or speak to anyone while they're making a profit? They're "successful". Welcome to Capitalist Ethics 101. The "kids" can truly only make their presence felt through their absence (of their money). Well, I suppose they could DDoS attack a company or something, but I'm talking about legal methods of recourse.

If there is something so wrong with the game that you feel the need to say something but don't feel the need to quit playing, you may as well not bother leaving the game to fire up your word processor. It won't be fixed unless the developers feel like taking the time to fix it, and maybe even not then. There's always the chance that they just can't figure out how to fix it. Do skeletons have descriptions over their head yet in EverQuest?

That's the long and short of it. Game developers will ultimately do what they want to do. MMOG developers doubly so. In such a nascent genre, the winner is, as marketers will gleefully point out, whoever shows up (no, AO and WWIIO didn't show up so much as bonked their heads on the door). It's not who listens to their customers, or even who adds something different to the tried and true Diku paradigm.
#42 by "Hoodoo"
2002-02-06 21:40:41
There have been zillions of straightforward questions posted on the Vault which have never been answered. Of course Mythic can't answer all of them, but when they see several dozen posts all hammering at the same thing, they could make a better effort to communicate.

Example: Quickness is an attribute that increases attack speed in DAoC. After awhile, players began to notice that when they increased their quickness (through a spell or magic item), their damage per hit dropped. Instead of hitting for the same amount of damage, but faster, the character hits for less damage. Apparently, it's because the code ties damage output to time and not a per hit calc.

Players have been posting messages and sending email for months now asking Mythic to clarify this. Is this "working as intended"? Is it a bug? Is it an oversight? Just tell us. Mythic hasn't said a word.

Sure, if you want hide under the "you're rude, so this conversation is over" shield go ahead. That's just another way of saying, "We won't ever talk to you again" since the Internet in general and MMOG communities specifically are full of rudeness.

Basically, at that point you've adopted the Kelly Flock philosophy. We don't care what you think.All that matters is that you let us charge your credit card each month.  

And hey, that's certainly a valid business approach.
#43 by "jafd"
2002-02-06 21:55:45
kallist@hell.com http://jafd.isfuckingbrilliant.com
Bailey's right, Lum & Tweety are imaginary people who are occaisionally mistaken for extant entities, & Sacrifice runs like a charm.

Hedron had more than one good idea, although I am bad at math, so I don't know how many. Maybe they'll say something like, "No I can't talk about it good-bye." If they do or don't do that, that'll be interesting. It isn't like they're bugged MOBs, desperately trying to get the true werds out to the peeps, but erroneously trying to walk through a wall to get to the nearest telephone.

It doesn't matter. One small thing going on in a much larger picture. Merely one that is seen at a slightly higher attitude, so when people in the future look back, something is marked.

It doesn't sound like anything more to me than a group of particularly zealous treasure hunters, or young capitalists, whatever. Maybe they are rude? Maybe they are just too successful? Or maybe... they're terrorists. A horrific idea to contemplate, but I suppose it could be true. Bleah. What massively scary world we live in for the moment. Level fifty wizards tooling around gathering resources from honest citizens, unregulated beyond the hand-slap of "don't do it on that one big site, don't do it at all, unless it's your wife or your brother or your friend or something," not because that solves the complications inherent in such an arragement the best, but because that's the cheap and easy way to resolve the issue. Or, perhaps some other reason. Who knows why? I seem to remember hearing the reasons once before, but hell, it's 2002. Let's hear them again.

Is it really necessary? To drive this tedious crap into the back rooms, so even the legitimate trading gets tainted with distrust and fear? Because that's really what it ends up doing to a non-trivial amount of people.

Instant black market, just add legislation. I'm not necessarily in favor of legalizing or banning the practice, I don't feel there's been enough data. Rather than trying to stem an indomitable tide of human desire, it would seem to me to be more efficacious to require all these transactions to be wide open. Public this, recorded that, charts up, graphs down.

The userbase's big complain I've seen is that it unbalances the game in favor of the rich; setting aside for the fact that the same can be said of baseball and the NY Yankees, if all these cash and pixel movements were tracked, and limited... some controls could be maintained. While preventing the demand for illicit goods to ever amount to more than a pittance, because the few people who would be dropping money for this stuff, wouldn't bother going to ebay or yousuckbuyalife.com or anything like that.

It could be done. Sure. Who'd have to manage it? The publisher, and to a lesser extent, the developers. Or maybe vice versa. Depends on which one is smarter, I suppose.

Certainly it might make for a good business decision to utilize the law to stamp out dangerous growths of human creativity; a gang of lawyers is far less of a burden than a gang of customer service agents. "Yes? You wanted the Codpiece of Hidden Majesty? okay, yes, we have your CC on file. What's that? One for your friend? Oooh! I hope your alignments don't chafe against each other."

So I see stories about people going to court and neither side seems very, uh... statesmanlike. Makes me consider the future, and want to dig a hole. This stuff isn't terribly important now, sure, but someday it will be. Terribly important, that is. At least to some portion of the future human population. Perhaps all.

I wonder if the employees of this corproration that is being sued by Mythic - do I have that story right? I can never tell! - are under any kind of orders from their bosses not to talk about the lawsuit? Maybe they're farming to keep their wives and children fed.

What happens to the separate markets for EQ and DAoC if they both become illicit? Will they both rise or fall or what? Oooooooo! I wish one could call a bookie and a stockbroker on the same phone!

Have an image of the online equivalent of customs agents, at the geographic borders of the country, as well as the online correlation to that space. I'm not paranoid about such an idea, but I can imagine such annoyances becoming commonplace if the desires of the few end up becoming more commonly enforced at the expense of the many.

"Sir, if you won't keep this on a professional level, I'm going to hang up the phone".

Very well stated. Mythic is in the hot seat on this particular issue that the peculiarity of modern life has created. How professional are they going to be about it?

I don't care what they do. I just hope they do better than anyone else has done, when confronted with this issue. Hint: I could think of a better plan than Verant did, and I am a dumbass.

Whoops! look at the time! no time to proofread. And I meant to scroll up and share my brilliant solution to the problem in clear and concise detail. Perhaps another time.
#44 by "Cliff"
2002-02-06 21:56:48
cps46@earthlink.net http://www.opencrap.org
#41 Matthew Gallant
Game developers will ultimately do what they want to do.

Strippers and beer.

MMOG developers doubly so.

I just figured out what 3DR's top sekrit project is...
#45 by "Bailey"
2002-02-06 22:00:49
www.ashrain.net
Matthew

Money is what talks, and even then, $9.95 is only a whisper. Why does Mythic have to do anything or speak to anyone while they're making a profit?

Because: EQ. You can always make more.

I agree with a lot of what you said. They can lose 10K players and it won't require a pay cut for anyone at Mythic. However, when I was in beta, not paying a dime, in fact, absorbing funds via bandwidth, I was occasionally submitting lengthy critical analysisís to Tweety. The problems I was concerned about were addressed and fixed to a measurable degree. Why? Because Mythic wanted a solid, marketable title, and if something's broken in a scale of this size, they sometimes need some help finding it. The problem for them is sorting the wheat from the chaff, gold from the dross, worthwhile comments from the fucktardocopia of mental vomit. Another reason as to why might be that my statements, however crude, are still slightly more coherent than the guys writing in with "RUNGER BROKE PLZ FIX KTHNX".

They might not have to do anything, but I'd say Mythic stands out from most companies in honestly wanting to do something. Just my take on the matter, in any case.
#46 by "Mad_Dog"
2002-02-06 22:25:11
eatmyspam@tarDODO.com http://www.opencrap.org
#44 Cliff
#41 Matthew Gallant
Game developers will ultimately do what they want to do.

Strippers and beer.

MMOG developers doubly so.

I just figured out what 3DR's top sekrit project is...

Hey, Dallas is well known for its strip clubs. Lots of strip club. Lots and lots and lots of strip clubs.

Life is good.
#47 by "Matthew Gallant"
2002-02-06 22:31:27
seeker@truemeaningoflife.com http://truemeaningoflife.com
I never said Mythic was better or worse than anyone else as far as listening to customers. I'd imagine in fact that they are better.

My point was that it really doesn't matter how you address them. The feedback is essentially the same value, which is equal to how much value Mythic assigns to it, with a maximum of 2 cents, which is a lot less than $9.95, which isn't that much to begin with.

The "won't interact unless it's politely" is a smokescreen. We all know that each of the folks on the Mythic PR front have at one time or another given as good as they got, and would be willing to do so again if they felt like it. Nobody's feelings are getting hurt. They're not interacting because they don't want to and because they know they don't have to, because the game is good enough. Anything they do is out of the goodness of their hearts, which as you say are bigger than the genre average. Which isn't hard.
#48 by "m0nty"
2002-02-06 22:49:25
m0nty_au@bigpond.com no fixed abode
Couple of points:

I get the feeling that BSI is an "unincorporated association", described elsewhere in the lawsuit as "fictitious", precisely because the principals expected this to happen. They want to make as small a target as possible in case they lose and have to pay costs, and/or Mythic countersues.

Also, it's not hard to see why they picked Mythic to sue, instead of EQ or AC, because Mythic presumably has less resources to hire lawyers and whatnot than Sony or Microsoft do. An interesting question raised somewhere in the Camelot Vault was whether Mythic's competitors would contribute to a legal fighting fund, given that this is a test case that would affect all MMORPG publishers if it got to court.
#49 by "Bailey"
2002-02-06 23:19:52
www.ashrain.net
m0nty

Also, it's not hard to see why they picked Mythic to sue, instead of EQ or AC, because Mythic presumably has less resources to hire lawyers and whatnot than Sony or Microsoft do.

True, they've got some big friends though. Not really a factor, I'd say.
#50 by "Leslie Nassar"
2002-02-06 23:34:45
anyone remember Brian West?  slashdot was all over it when the FBI arrested him for breaking into an competing ISP.  his side of the story was that he was merely reporting a security hole and that he was being harrassed by The Man.  so slashdot pimped his defence fund, the slashbots contributed to it, and everyone talked about how the bigwigs in washington just don't understand them.

of course, his story turned out to be bullshit.

the moral;  be careful and do your research before you contribute to any kind of "fighting fund".  what if this case is dismissed as frivolous?  what if they drop it?  what happens to the donations then?
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