Our E3 coverage starts in two days. Our good man Jeff is already rolling through Arizona to bring you the latest and greatest on a game I'm thrilled to be covering personally at E3, StarGate Worlds. Jeff is also making at stop a Tulga HQ where he will see what the Horizons' team has been up to.
Two eyes. Two ears. Some games. Some beer.
I can see E3 on the horizon. Two more days!
Even with 13 editors hitting the show we are to the point where we may have to turn away last-minute appointment requests. Our schedule is filling faster than IGE (Also known as Gold Farmers 'R Us) is buying up websites.
History has a funny way of repeating itself, even in the games industry. You see, there was once this site, let's call it Allakhazam or something of the sort. We won't call it Allakhazam.com because it didn't have a domain name. In fact, it didn't have much of anything. It was a hand built set of pages that listed EverQuest items and quests. It was so poorly designed that it actually hurt the eyes of its readers. It was small. It was bland, but it had potential.
Along came a game community building site that includes many of the heavyweights in the industry. Allakhazam asked to join that community and the network agreed to help build the little site into what it hoped would become a very, very big one. People across the industry shook their heads in disbelief. Was the network losing its mind to take in such a junkyard of a site? The network, as it had done for dozens of other sites, helped the little site by giving it a graphical overhaul and paying for its hosting, bandwidth, etc. The EverQuest community spent countless hours sendng information to the little site to help it thrive.
With the help of the many sites in the network and the thousands of community members the little site grew and prospered. Times were good for the little site, now grown up and happily reaping the monetary rewards bestowed upon it by the network because of its tremendous success. It was making more money in a quarter than many people make in a year.
But the money just wasn't enough. Perhaps the site could go on its own and make even more money? Why should the little site be loyal to the network, the community that helped it grow or the dozens of other sites in the network that broke their backs each day to make sure that the little site was well known? It would do what it pleased, and if that harmed the sites that had helped it, then too bad for them. It was out for #1.
In the middle of the night, one starry, starry night, the network admins noticed that there were huge bandwidth bursts coming from the little site. It was being copied off the network to a new home; sneaking away, telling no one, including the network that had worked to sell advertising on the little site. Including the dozens of other sites that had helped the little site grow. Including the community members who had spents hours of their time to build the little site.
When the network turned the little (now big) site off it cried like a girl, or a baby, or a baby girl. It screamed and ranted and raved that it was being unfairly treated. You see, loyalty is a one-way street.
The little site is still around. It's a big site. The street is still there. It's still one-way. The sites paying members just didn't know it until yesterday. The street seemed like a two-way street; the site's administrator condemning the secondary market, gold farmers and the like.
Yesterday dawned and the one-way street sign was hoisted, again without warning.
"Allakhazam is pleased to announce that we have added several new sites to our network and have joined them together to form the Zam.com Network which is now instantly the leading content destination for all MMO gamers.
The new Zam.com Network will consist of newly expanded and improved versions of Allakhazam.com and Thottbot.com. In addition, the assets and content of OGaming.com (and the interface sites) and L2Orphus.com will be integrated into the existing Allakhazam network. This will add multiple new games to our site, more than double our personnel and give us the flexibility to add more features, better service and expanded coverage.
In the coming months, we will be upgrading our server infrastructure, expanding our news and editorial coverage, adding sites for more games, and designing even better database services. We are committed to making this the premier destination for the entire MMORPG community."
Let's take a look at this statement and call it what it is; spin.
They are pleased to announce that they sold the network, built on the blood, sweat and tears of its community members, to the organization that those member despise most. Why would that please them unless they were out to use their community members in the first place? It's not like the uproar over this sale was going to be a big surprise.
It is more than a little presumptuous of Allakhazam.com to claim that this new, incestuous, dog's breakfast of a network is the leading content destination for all MMO gamers. Who does he think built the content on his network? It was the loyal MMO players who delivered the content to him. The same players who he has now stabbed in the back. He sold them down the river. Wait, he's still holding your paddle, but it will cost you to get it back... hurry before you drooooown.
How can a site, owned by a company that proclaims itself a leader in the secondary market, a market that is against the wishes of nearly every MMOG developer on the planet have the balls to call itself the "premier destination for the entire MMORPG community"? Let's whittle it down a bit and call it the premier destination for gold farmers and the gold whores who support them. They are easy to recognize, they are the guys that the other 95% of the game population would like to kick in the nads. They are the guys that ruin the game for everyone else. They are the guys that the developers are forced to spend time trying to counteract when they should be spending time making the game an enjoyable experience for you. How much of your $15 per month do you think goes to dealing with gold farmers and secondary market companies? Remember every support ticket that involves them, directly or indirectly, costs you.
My good man Phil picked up this gem. Here is an Allakhazam quote from the past;
"I can assure you that Allakhazam.com never has had and never will have any association with IGE. No amount of money will change that. We are players ourselves and disagree with everything they stand for. I've turned down their advances so many times in so many ways over the years that I think they have finally give up on us. "
Here is what the Allakhazamman has to say about the recent acquisition;
"We are now owned by a company that owns a bunch of stuff, including IGE. "
TenTonHammer.com has never accepted advertising from a secondary market company and have gone as far as dropping Google ads, which were our #1 revenue source because they were infested with gold for sale advertisements. There is a reason that our network is growing faster than any other MMOG community network. We tell it like it is. We don't sell you spin. We don't sell out! For a short time there aren't going to be many database options for World of Warcraft users. We are changing that, giving you a Gold Free, Secondary Market free alternative. Our database has been undergoing internal alpha testing for a couple of weeks. The team working on the project will now be working even harder to get it out so that you, the community can beta test it, and have a home away from the secondary market. The second that we can make it publicly available for testing we will let you know.
Once bitten, twice shy? I don't blame you. All I can do to ease your pain is to point you to our sites and show you that we have a no gold stance.
Last month over two million of you read Loading... That's larger than the population of some island nation with a name that none of us can pronounce. World domination is within our grasp. Today, some nondescript island nation in the pacific. Next month, Denmark. We are growing, you are the messengers and the Danes are warned.
Go forth Loading... Legions and spread the word. The crusades have begun.
Who's da man? Why you da man!
Questions, comments, something or someone you want me to interrogate at E3? Let me know...
Looking for a place that your guild can call home that doesn't run gold ads? Look no further than GuildPortal.com.
What's New On TenTonHammer.com?
Let us entertain you or at the very least waste some of your time at work.
Dungeons and Dragons Online: FriEd - It's Too Short...
"Is it too short? Your game, that is. (They have herbal medications and pump thingies for the other affliction, though we're not sure how effective they are.) Shayalyn contends that DDO didn't laucnh with enough depth of content to satisfy power gamers, and that now even the moderate gamers are growing restless."
EverQuest 2: Anticipating Adventure
"News of EQ2's next adventure pack, Fallen Dynasty, has arrived. This Asian-themed zone boasts new quests, new weapons, and more. RadarX taps his sources inside SOE for the real story on whats coming. Ok, he pleaded with some SOE people, and they gave up nothing. Read his speculation inside."
EverQuest 2: Expansion Elation
"The long anticipated details for Echoes of Faydwer are here! New zones, new quests, and a whole new city await. Kiara takes a look at what we know, speculates on what could be, and gushes over the cute little playable race, the Pixies. "
- Guild Wars: Canthan Green Daggers"Everyone is talking about the new elite items introduced by Guild Wars Factions. Curious what items are out there? Wondering where to find the dagger you covet for your assassin character? Here's a list of all the green daggers we've uncovered in Cantha, from "newbie island" all the way to Shiro."
Vanguard: Saga of Heroes - Are You An Alpha, Beta or Gold Version Player?
"With all the controversy about Beta; when is the next phase, how do I get in, why am I not in yet, will there be an open beta, etc etc, it's nice to see someone take a light hearted look at being a beta tester. Medeor looks at what it takes to beta test and how well he fits, or doesn't ,into that profile."
Vin Diesel Fact of the Day - Vin Diesel was the ghost writer of every Isaac Asimov book.
Now on to the real world. You can't make this stuff up. [Matt, you da man!]
Levi's Puts RFID Tags In Clothes
There's a party in your pants. Directions, just follow the GPS to the red tag.
RFID Hacking Underground
Your smartcard wants a lead chastity belt.
Family Kicked Out Of Buffet For Leaving Food On Plates
At least Kirstie Alley will never have to live through that embarrassment.
As always, thanks for visiting TenTonHammer.com,
-- John "Boomjack" Hoskin