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The Thing About The Bling Bling.
July 20th 2002, 15:51 CEST by m0nty

The interchangeability of fictitious currency in games with real-life hard cash has entered a new phase with two new games breaking down the barriers. The client for Magic: The Gathering Online is a free download, but you have to pay for your cards the same way as you do in the real life collectable card game. The game also allows players to exchange virtual card images for real paper items. Project Entropia uses the same business model but takes it even further, by establishing an exchange rate between PEDs (Project Entropia dollars) and US dollars of 1:10, and basing much of the gameplay around buying equipment and competing for cash prizes.

The major obstacle to this new world of virtual economies is, of course, cheating. Call it duping, counterfeiting, or haxx0ring, but the illegal copying of saleable items has plagued MMOGs, and made Diablo 2 on Battle.net a bad experience for many. How can the game developers ensure total security for their online transactions, in a field where cheating is commonplace?

MTGO has only recently been published by Wizards of the Coast, after being developed by Leaping Lizard, so it has not had much in the way of hacking attempts made against it as yet. This doesn't stop some MTG devotees from suspecting the worst, making the quite valid assumptions that 90% of online players are choads, and that if there are security holes, they will be found and exploited. One loophole has already been discovered by a player called God Gundam, as detailed in a recent Biting the Hand column by the Themis Group's Jessica Mulligan. Admittedly, this is credit card fraud, not a hack on the game code (according to WotC), but the details bear repeating: the fraudster was allowed to rack up US$15,000 worth of assets before WotC noticed. Given that some old skool MTG players are expecting the game to go mostly virtual over time, it will be interesting to see whether the God Gundam episode is merely the tip of a very big iceberg.

Perhaps the weirdest development in MTGO is the story of Manapster. I can't tell whether this piece is a joke or not, but I can't find any other relevant mention of Manapster in any search engine on the Web, and MTGO players on #planetcrap assure me that the quoted function of the program is meaningless. It makes sense that someone might code a third-party app, a la Blacksnow Interactive, but if this is a gag, the writer doesn't have much of a sense of humour.

Meanwhile, over in sunny Sweden, MindArk is making a lot of noise about Project Entropia threatening the existing MMOGs to become the largest virtual universe ever devised, with players stumping up US$4 to US$8 per hour for the privilege. This article at UnknownPlayer provides a good overview of the shenanigans, including a raid on the company's premises which MindArk blamed on Microsoft. The recent refunding of money spent in the beta after a power outage wiped the servers raises several questions, the most pertinent being how secure players' digital assets will be in the full release.

PE is not to be dismissed lightly: societies like the militaristic Soldier of Fortune (no relation to magazine or game), the Smith & Mining Corp., the anarchic Calypso United Federation and the Swedish Explorer Society certainly add an organic new twist to the traditional clan/realm structure.

So, are we all striding into the Brave New World of virtual economies with fixed grins and bulging fictional wallets? Economies are mostly fictional anyway, so why not? Is there any significant problem with not having the real-world backup of paper notes, coins, and gold bullion to back up that virtual currency? Do we trust WotC and MindArk to be our bankers, holding thousands of dollars of our assets in their servers? Will MTGO and PE be hacked, or are they going to disprove the doubters and prove the worthiness of virtual marketplaces? Where is Blacksnow Interactive? How much for that +12 Sword?
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Home » Topic: The Thing About The Bling Bling.

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#1 by Matthew Gallant
2002-07-20 15:53:23
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
Good morning from Texas! Rip Torn is from Texas, you know that?

Current market value of the Max Payne IP according to a comparison of the market capitalization of Take Two pre- and post- sale: approx. -$312,000,000.
#2 by Matthew Gallant
2002-07-20 15:53:24
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
Good morning from Texas! Rip Torn is from Texas, you know that?

Current market value of the Max Payne IP according to a comparison of the market capitalization of Take Two pre- and post- sale: approx. -$312,000,000.
#3 by Matthew Gallant
2002-07-20 15:53:32
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
urk

Current market value of the Max Payne IP according to a comparison of the market capitalization of Take Two pre- and post- sale: approx. -$312,000,000.
#4 by Matthew Gallant
2002-07-20 15:55:10
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
He also recently appeared in a sequel.

Current market value of the Max Payne IP according to a comparison of the market capitalization of Take Two pre- and post- sale: approx. -$312,000,000.
#5 by jafd
2002-07-20 15:59:37
Let's hope he's wise enough to not look silly four times in a row.

#6 by Matt Davis
2002-07-20 16:05:11
http://looroll.com
I couldn't have attempted to kill the thread any better myself.

This week I will be mostly wearing no pants
#7 by Matthew Gallant
2002-07-20 16:10:10
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
<- THIS IS RIP TORN

Current market value of the Max Payne IP according to a comparison of the market capitalization of Take Two pre- and post- sale: approx. -$312,000,000.
#8 by Greg
2002-07-20 16:12:11
You know what's funny about Rip Torn? His name! Get it? Rip. Torn. HAHAHAHAHA.

Who is driving car?! Oh my god, bear is driving car! How can that be?
#9 by "Jamiekin"
2002-07-20 16:23:50
jamiekin@hotmail.com
"How much for that +12 Sword?"

Depends if there's a 'dragon on the blade'...
#10 by Matt Davis
2002-07-20 16:25:44
http://looroll.com
I've decided to start making sound schemes for computers so here's my first homemade soundNew mail

This week I will be mostly wearing no pants
#11 by Matthew Gallant
2002-07-20 16:26:40
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
Very nice.

Current market value of the Max Payne IP according to a comparison of the market capitalization of Take Two pre- and post- sale: approx. -$312,000,000.
#12 by HoseWater
2002-07-20 16:35:35
barneyque@hotmail.com
HeheheŽ

From now on when I read your messages, I will have to use an accent on the voice in my head.
#13 by Dinglehoffen
2002-07-20 16:37:51
Fanny Fungus
Rip Torn...hmm...isn't he the f@rgot that throws confetti all over the place and wears a toupee? Oh yeah...he has a handlebar moustache too.

That's Texas for ya. Behavior instigated by the muggy flatland boredom.

"...teh horah...teh horah..."
#14 by Matt Perkins
2002-07-20 16:49:14
wizardque@yahoo.com http://whatwouldmattdo.com/
On topic, just to be different

MTGO has an advantage.  They have a specific rule set, only so many things can actually happen at any point.  They don't have to have a huge world where numerous things can happen, they get go strictly by a comparitively small set of game laws.  If they did it right, anything that happens in the system, they should know, right away.  They should have a big red light that goes off if the rules are broken/stretched...or maybe a database that tracks everything and someone that takes a look at errors generated.

I don't see this as being such an easy thing in a large world with so many choices like EQ or UO.

Though, this is all from a layman's point of view, so I could be WAY off.

I'm the returning fucking champion.
#15 by Sgt Hulka
2002-07-20 16:51:51
No Dingle, ya idjit!  Rip Taylor is the one who throws +12 Swords all over the place and prances about like a poofter.

DOOMED! - Videogames Turn Deadly.
#16 by LPMiller
2002-07-20 16:52:16
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
that's rip Taylor, you goof.

I believe I can fly......urk.
#17 by Matt Perkins
2002-07-20 16:53:44
wizardque@yahoo.com http://whatwouldmattdo.com/
Wait LP, I can do that too


Dur, it's Rip Taylor!

(Matt is now cool like LP)

I'm the returning fucking champion.
#18 by LPMiller
2002-07-20 17:01:54
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
you will never be that cool.

I believe I can fly......urk.
#19 by Ashiran
2002-07-20 17:27:24
I only play MTGO for the league games. And only buy cards as I need them for the leagues. I'm sure as hell not spending any money trading "hot" cards. That's just asking to get banged from behind.

"Good writers are harder to find than nice breasts" - morn
#20 by Bailey
2002-07-20 17:33:53
Kind of unrelated, but I'm both unnerved and terrified when channel-surfing by the sheer number of recently imported crappily dubbed animes revolving around kids playing MTG-esque card games, battling-top (the spinny kind) games, and of course, assorted monster battling games.

Shows. About kids playing games. Games too boring to even be a spectator sports, much less a 30-episode season. And they're not only selling these concepts in Japan, but importing them to the US. (shaking head) At this point in humanity's evolution, it's probably better if I start playing russian roulette with a clip pistol rather than a revolver.

BileŽ. Makes a body bitter.
#21 by Fallon
2002-07-20 17:40:34
http://www.fagnews.com
it's probably better if I start playing russian roulette with a clip pistol rather than a revolver.


Take the pin out of a hand grenade and spin it on a table in front of you. Much more effective.

Plus, it gives the cleaners something to do if you blast yourself to giblets in in your office!

"If America's Army wanted to be realistic, they'd have to add parts where the americans 'accidentally' kill Canadians, or Red Cross workers, or something." - Nova Z
#22 by Dinglehoffen
2002-07-20 17:52:37
Fanny Fungus
Rip Torn, Rip Taylor...what's the difference? I'm sure Rip Taylor could become the new Clint Eastwood with a little makeup:

Rip Taylor: *throws confetti* "Awight, you savage, you! Did I shoot five shots, or six? *giggle* Thee, this is the most powerful handgun in the world! *twirls moustache* Go ahead, you...you savage PUNK!"  *throws confetti*

"...teh horah...teh horah..."
#23 by Matthew Gallant
2002-07-20 17:53:47
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
OK, so who would trust the Swedish-made Wallet Enlarging Game with their money? Not me.

Current market value of the Max Payne IP according to a comparison of the market capitalization of Take Two pre- and post- sale: approx. -$312,000,000.
#24 by Sgt Hulka
2002-07-20 18:09:11
Rip Taylor: *throws confetti* "Awight, you savage, you! Did I shoot five shots, or six? *giggle* Thee, this is the most powerful handgun in the world! *twirls moustache* Go ahead, you...you savage PUNK!"  *throws confetti*


And the funny thing is, I'd probably pay money to see this movie!

#25 by jafd
2002-07-20 18:13:00
mtgo, by it's nature, is far less susceptible to cheating than, say, EverQuest.

I don't see the rampant and blatant cheatz0ring in that game to be doing a whole lot of damage to its popularity or success.

#26 by Bailey
2002-07-20 18:19:32
I don't think Everquest ever let someone manufacture $15,000 worth of swords of ykesha on their account quite that quickly.

BileŽ. Makes a body bitter.
#27 by jafd
2002-07-20 18:50:44
They didn't manufacture faux cards. They stole them, with either a stolen CC, or an exploit in the webstore. Big difference.

If you want to talk about EverQuest "letting" people manufacture stuff, hey, ShowEQ is still alive and well, any gimp with a minimum of knowledge and equipment can cheat their ass off, grab an asston of gear, and sell it on the grey market. Verant is effectively powerless to stop it, too.

It isn't as though mtgo is complicated; all they have to keep track of, really, is a long list of unique serial numbers, matched up to a long list of verified, valid CC numbers. Giving the database a check-up every day or so is routine.

You think the accountants aren't going to notice, when suddenly column A and column B don't match up? You think they don't have the ability to call up a user's account, and get a list of every dime spent, every card ever owned, and every card ever traded back and forth from that person?

There will be fraud, sure, same way there has been fraud in the paper product; once in awhile, some employee gets greedy and/or stupid, and yoinks some stuff. It happened years back in the beginning, it'll happen again; it won't end up being that big a deal.

There will be fraud on the smalll scale, too. There's already at least two trade window exploits, both of which, I'm told, rely heavily on suckering some dumbass newbie into clicking "ok" when it is most assuredly not okay. Big deal. It's hard to patch stupidity.

I mean, there's a stupid shitload of money invested and riding on this stupid card game. It's more profitable, and more securable, than any other GIP out there now; why you fuckos are running around saying that it's going to be hacked to smithereens is completely beyond me. Uhm... evidence? Even, well reasoned hypotheses?

Anyone out there who knows the difference between "bury" and "destroy" care to chime in with some doomsaying?

#28 by Greg
2002-07-20 20:06:08
I'd like to see if someone can hack MTG the same way that Diablo 2 is being hacked now. People have found a way to merge two items into a single item. Pretty funny, but also pretty sad.

Who is driving car?! Oh my god, bear is driving car! How can that be?
#29 by Bailey
2002-07-20 20:21:10
Swordchuks?

BileŽ. Makes a body bitter.
#30 by Terata
2002-07-20 20:53:05
Dude, you take two swords, and you attach them by a chain at their handles!  Swordchucks!
#31 by OM {god}
2002-07-20 20:57:37
chimpy_37@hotmail.com www.one-man-and-his-monkey.vze.com
"Swordchucks"

cool!
can see it catching on!!!!
if it wernt for the blood and severed limbs of the person using them!

shaving your nutsack isnt in itself a bad idea... a splash of aftershave is!
#32 by Leslie Nassar
2002-07-20 21:04:26
http://departmentofinternets.com
OMFG DUDE!!!!

and the doctor's praying to Buddha, "send me to another town!"
#33 by Warren Marshall
2002-07-20 21:05:26
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
OMFG!  SWORDCHUCK CAMPING FAGOT!!

"It's pretty common for pussies, dumbasses, and their families to blame their problems on vague influences like the media and society. The truth is, fuck you."
#34 by Charles
2002-07-20 21:07:20
www.bluh.org
I think Dungeons and Dragons 3rd edition has those...

...is the new SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP.
#35 by Your Friend
2002-07-20 21:07:22
That Manapster thing isn't for real is it?  I don't play MTGO and can't be bothered to research 'manapster' any more than looking at the link above, but I wonder how incompetent the MTGO developers would have to be for that program to exist.

Being a turn based card game, MTGO can easily be made perfectly secure from a client-server protocol standpoint. Isn't the client just a completely dumb program that displays the cards and game results?  It should be...
#36 by Bailey
2002-07-20 21:42:17
Swordchucks, yo.

BileŽ. Makes a body bitter.
#37 by Bailey
2002-07-20 22:07:49
1000 fuckos working with 1000 typewriters will eventually recreate all those quality topics currently stagnating in the bin.

Crushing all other denominational fish with an iron fist.
#38 by Your Friend
2002-07-20 22:12:29
I think you overestimate how many fuckos it would take.
#39 by Greg
2002-07-20 22:26:09
Overestimate? Maybe underestimated by a factor of 100, at least.

Who is driving car?! Oh my god, bear is driving car! How can that be?
#40 by Ashiran
2002-07-20 22:36:06
I will await the first hack0ring of MTGO with great anticipation. It should be a nice riot to look at.

"Good writers are harder to find than nice breasts" - morn
#41 by bago
2002-07-21 01:48:17
manga_Rando@hotmail.com
heh, the manapster thing is a parody. Anyone you were playing against would call bullshit the first time you tried to cheat... assuming it was possible. "I tap a plains, and cast a Shivan Dragon" is.. uhm.. slightly wrong.

iamelectro
#42 by Bailey
2002-07-21 02:01:33
All I can smell in this here thread is catass.

Crushing all other denominational fish with an iron fist.
#43 by Dinglehoffen
2002-07-21 04:52:47
Fanny Fungus
Oh, it's much more than catass...it's OPEN catass during a heatwave.

"...teh horah...teh horah..."
#44 by Duality
2002-07-21 07:52:30
Dualipuff@yahoo.com http://stratoscape.ath.cx/
Kitty browneye?

-Jon
#45 by "sebi"
2002-07-21 16:58:42
mtgo will at least stop the kind of cheating that happens in real games. I remember reading about a M:tG pro, that was banned from the tour because he was found to tamper his opponents deck while shuffling it. In mtgo the shuffling is done by the server, right?
#46 by jjohnsen
2002-07-21 17:54:49
http://www.johnsenclan.com
o.k. don't read this if a couple of small NWN spoilers will ruin your day.








Alright, I need help from someone thats finished NWN.  I'm at the very end (I think) and even though I have a henchmen, a familier and a summoned creature, I get wasted.  Not a drawn out battle and then wasted.  Wasted in a few minutes.  I sometimes make it past the room Morag is giving her speech, to the last room, but am so wiped out from the fight with the five ancients that I don't have a chance against that old lizard bitch.  Am I just too weak, and need to finish more quests to level up?  This not being able to rest things is really killing me.  Anyone?

I never get to play grammar nazi, so when the topic of plural penis comes up it's my moment to shine, damnit.
-Foodbunny
#47 by Matthew Gallant
2002-07-21 17:55:51
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
What are you playing as, jjohnsen?

Current market value of the Max Payne IP according to a comparison of the market capitalization of Take Two pre- and post- sale: approx. -$312,000,000.
#48 by jjohnsen
2002-07-21 17:57:34
http://www.johnsenclan.com
Sorceror.  I have a VII summon creature and Grimgaw the fist-flying monk.  I think I'm level 18 or 19 if I remember right.

I never get to play grammar nazi, so when the topic of plural penis comes up it's my moment to shine, damnit.
-Foodbunny
#49 by Bailey
2002-07-21 18:13:27
There's something wrong with you.

Crushing all other denominational fish with an iron fist.
#50 by Matthew Gallant
2002-07-21 18:22:48
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
Potions, scrolls and wands. Greater stoneskin for you and your henchman, haste, all the good stuff, hand him one of each stat-boosting potion, and give yourself one too. Endurance especially, because it'll give you extra hit points. You should have a Time Stop scroll, I used mine on the first battle (Morag's speech).

Your henchman will always run through the Blade Barrier at the final room and kill himself (his AI just doesn't 'see' the Blade Barrier, stupid AI); you'll need to equip and cast whatever you can for magic resistance and saving throws. AC won't be as important.

Current market value of the Max Payne IP according to a comparison of the market capitalization of Take Two pre- and post- sale: approx. -$312,000,000.
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