Smedley Shoots Straight, Says Stuff Surrounding Station Service I Webzen Whips It Out, Sees Whose is Bigger I Community Buzz I Middle Earth Online Flashes Fans I Final Fantasy Finds Friends I World of Warcraft Stuffs I Media Place I Readers Speak I Freakin' Hot Rena Tanaka Picture of the Week
Issue #30 No Tears April 30, 2005

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People can have any sound at all function as the ringing sound on their cellphones. It really is incredible. Any sound effect and pretty much any song can be the noise that cries out "someone is calling you." The downside to this is that it confuses the hell out of me. Like just the other day, someone else's phone rang, and I had to check my own phone; an ambulance drove by with its siren blasting, and I had to check my cellphone; a popular song came on someone's car stereo, so I naturally had to check my cellphone.

I then wandered into an ally and found myself confronted by a gang. Pointing his gun at me, the leader said, "You be droppin' that backpack and them Jordans and runnin', sucka!" I had to check my cellphone.

 Smedley Shoots Straight, Says Stuff Surrounding Station Service
EverQuest 2

People everywhere continue to spew out a stream of fact, fiction, concern, complaint, approval, disapproval, speculation, and poorly-worded idiocy after the initial announcement of the "Station Exchange" store. Since this is the internet, a lot of dumb people have been making up stupid things about the store like, I dunno, that the money is used to increase global warming and pay for the cloning of Joseph Stalin or something...all kinds of stuff. People are idiots.

Anyway, John Smedley stepped in to shoot straight with the community about customer service and the Station Exchange. He said of investigating customer claims, "Player A contacts CS and claims he lost his sword due to a 'bug'. We investigate. This takes time. A fair amount of time since we have to go back through quite a few logs to insure this is a legit issue... and during this time the player may or may not be online.. if they log off, we have to contact them as soon as possible.. again, this takes time. We find that in fact he transfered his sword to Player B (and yes, we would ban someone for scamming us, but often times they say 'oh yeah.. I forgot I gave my sword to Bob... my mistake.. sry' )and then we have to investigate this player more extensively to determine if other mistakes like this have happened in the past."

In yet more of the endless talk of this move by SOE, the company currently has a player survey on the matter. Each account is given one vote on the matter. Should one's opinion change, one can vote again, which will delete the previous vote.

 Webzen Whips It Out, Sees Whose is Bigger


Korean developer Webzen sure isn't having any trouble deciding where to focus its efforts, as its smash hit MMO MU Online recently reached a subscriber milestone. Usually, when an MMORPG developer says this about its game, the number is something like 100,000, or maybe half a million, possibly one million, or perhaps even a few million. In the continent of Asia alone, MU is now packing 56 million players. Congratulations, Webzen. Yours is bigger.

On this note, it's no surprise Microsoft recruited Webzen to develop some content for the next generation Xbox. This move would logically point to Microsoft looking to add some MMORPG flavor to its new machine's library.

Source: 1up

 Community Buzz

Some games have alternate, hacked versions out there, run by fans who want to see nude characters running around. Yeah, I dunno, porn knows no boundries, I guess. Anyway, players of The Matrix Online don't have to come up with any hacks or cheats to get naked; all they must do is unequip their stuff. Now--get this--Monolith is getting angry at players for doing this. This makes Heath laugh. Players are getting warnings for taking off their clothes. Sorry, Monolith, but if you didn't see that coming a mile away...well, I just feel bad for you. I expect a future patch will edit the characters to prevent the nudity.


Shadowbane players might have noticed some old faces returning lately. That's because as of April 26, those who have cancelled accounts in good standing have been given 15 days of free play. Runing through May 10, the offer comes with no strings attached. The reactivated accounts will automatically cancel themselves; players need not fear any charges. Check out this winback campaign here.


CCP has announced that the an EVE Online fanfest will be held October 19-23 of this year. Know what else has been announced about it? Nothing.

Star Wars

But CCP isn't the only group announcing a fan party. LucasArts will be holding gatherings in the name of Star Wars Galaxies this year. People near Anaheim can check out the party on June 3 and 4, and Leipzig, Germany some time in August. April 23 already saw a fan breakfast in Indianapolis, which was sold out, so those who are particularly excited to attend one of these fan gatherings should keep a watchful eye on the official website.

 Middle Earth Online Flashes Fans

Digging through my email, I found news about Middle Earth Online. "Yay," I shouted, "Less searching I have to do!" It turns out that all this fuss was over a single screenshot of the game. So, without further ado, here it is, the one, the only, the screen. Click it to make it bigger.

In other news, the game has gone through a name change to Lord of the Rings Online. Take a look at this post on Turbine's message boards. In it, the community manager "Calandryll" calls the game Lord of the Rings Online instead of Middle Earth Online. It was later cleared up by Turbine representatives talking to fansite MEO Source that this is indeed official.

 Final Fantasy Finds Friends

MMORPG developers try all kinds of gimmicks to keep old players around, and bring new players in, and the team maintaining Final Fantasy XI is no exception. After offering retired players 30 free days of play with "Return Home to Vana'diel," Square Enix is now urging players to invite friends into the world with the "Vana'diel Adventurer Recruitment Program." The idea here is that one player invites another into the game, and for doing so is given a reward. Not to be left out, the friend is also given some nice items.

The inviting party will receive a Guide Beret 40 days (real time, not Vana'diel time) after successfully inviting a friend. The invited friend will receive 12 Chocopasses on the first day, and a Sprout Beretafter 40 days. Both parties will also receive items after 100 days and 365 days. A "Chocopass" is a ticket that allows a character to rent a chocobo free of charge, regardless of job level and/or chocobo license status. Rental is limited to the stables in San d'Oria, Bastok, and Windurst, and riding time is limited. The berets are special hats that operate as a pair. When two adventurers equip these hats and form a party, the level of the character with the Guide Beret is restricted to the level of the character with the Sprout Beret, thus allowing them to enjoy adventuring and leveling together. The level restriction effect of the Guide Beret will only activate when the job level of the character with the corresponding Sprout Beret equipped is under level 50. Players who are under the level restriction effect of the guide beret cannot gain EXP.

All of this information was taken from the official announcement. Thanks to Todd Ross for pointing it out.

 World of Warcraft Stuffs

Remember the last two weeks, how I've told you about the thousands of Chinese gamers waiting in line to buy World of Warcraft? Well, they're still waiting.

Also, I got an email saying that the patch I reported on here has gone live. The same email also informs us, "Elemental Invasions are happening at various spots around the world. Children's week is being celebrated during the first week in May in Orgrimmar and Stormwind... I guess they figured Ironforge is laggy enough already." See the patch notes for more details. WoW player Cory Buck said of the patch, "It blows."

Thanks go out to Ross Bemrose for these tips.

 Media Place

"Rkade" sent in some more Matrix Online screens. Descriptions are below the table. He wanted me to point out that these are from the Method server and taken by Mistress2hott.

Screen 1 - An example of how interactive the emotes are. Don't know if you are allowed to post it but thought I'd send it anyways.
Screen 2 - A pic I took of the party at Club Polyvinyl after the live event concluded on Monday night.
Screen 3 - A pic I took of online wedding between myself and my First Mate, Mistress2hott.
Screen 4 - Pic Mistress2hott took of the Priory of Zion (faction) getting down at the party. The names in the "mini" box are the Priory.
Screen 5 - Mistress2hott took to show some of the fx that was being used during dance!
Screen 6 - Pic Mistress2hott took of the Priory of Zion (faction) getting down at the party. The names in the "mini" box are the Priory.

Gate to Heavens
And Jeff Walker has three more Gate to Heavens screens.

Send me your screens!

  Readers Speak

This week's topic was all about Sony's Station Exchange. In the first letter, my brother from the North, Cory Buck stepped in to add a second answer.

Remember Al Bundy?

Back in the day I used to go to and spend my hard earned "time to go to the strip club" cash on gil and the occasional world pass for ff 11. After a couple of months doing that I said to myself "wow! I'm retarded." That doesn't really answer your question or anything, but I just like talking about my "time to go to the strip club" cash...what a waste of time this letter was, huh?


Not a waste of a letter at all, unnamed friend. You demonstrate a valuable skill in your ability to budget.

You see, most people don't have a pile of "time to go to the strip club" cash. They just have a pile of money, then they use a credit card to buy up crap they can't afford, get addicted to that habit, and go broke and end up in prison. Sure, it's most often just white-collar resort prison, but prison nonetheless. Things like the IGE and Station Exchange only spell trouble for these people. You, on the other hand, seems to know how to manage your money, and that puts you a step ahead of the rest of the population.

Hey, I've managed to stay just about as on-topic as the letter. Awesome.


You're right Gino (by the way, your new name is Gino), that was a complete waste of my time. But it did make me crack a smile. So all is not lost. I have a couple thoughts on this "strip club cash" then I'm outta here.

First, you need to keep that crap out of sight until it's strip clubbin night. Use a coffee can or a pillow case to stash the cash. Or do what I do and use a rabbit carcass. Think about it, you're only going to want to go in there once or twice a week to load up on said cash because of the rank odor. Is pilfering ten bucks for gas worth it if it entails sifting through rabbit guts? I think not. Of course if you're like me you have about three thousand dollars in ones stashed away with "Strip Club" written all over it. So you get multiple rabbits. Or you save on space and needless death by getting a moose stuffed with your cash. And don't be like one of those weak "hunters" and only have a moose head on display. Have the whole damn moose stuffed and in your living room. Maybe color the eyebrows some to make it more fierce looking. Nobody wants to toy around with a moose with a chip on his/her shoulder. These are things I just kick around the office when the place is closed.

Also where are these strip clubs, Gino? Are you North or South of the border here? Because if you're cruising clubs in the States, then I suggest you hit the once more. It would be less of a waste. The only way to spend "strip club cash" is by doing so in the Great White North that is Canada. Two words: no thongs. G string, H string, whatever string, it aint no thing up there. All skin all the time. You can thank me later.

Finally, how are you hitting these strip clubs? Please tell me you're not one of those guys that just walks into clubs alone and sits real close to the stage, never saying a word. These are the same guys that keep gunning for a real relationship with these strippers after their shift is over. These guys buy a lap dance with the same dance They also drink little martinis with pink straws in them and request Ace of Base with any DJ. I guess the ideal group size for such a gala is around four or five. Too many guys just results in you getting your drunk asses booted out anyway. Around five is the maximum amount of real that can be kept.

hope this pointless response not only satisfies your pointless letter but also enlightens you on some of the finer aspects of "clubbin."

He Should Take Thinking Lessons From the Last Guy

I'm going to come right out and say it: I support Sony Exchange Station.

I don't play MMORPGs unless I think I can make some money off them, so this comes as great news to me. I don't play EQ2 yet but I plan on starting soon and it's good to know that they'll let me freely sell things to buyers, and those buyers don't have to be afraid of anything and neither do I. Everything is wide open and AOK with Sony so a lot more trading will get done.

This is a great idea and Everquest II is now going to go down with the same kind of legacy that the first EQ did.


There's one glitch I foresee. This is that the selling of gold and items will only be allowed on a few select "Station Exchange" servers. That's it. I haven't done intensive research on the subject, but let's think about it logically. Take a server with no one on it yet; it's empty. Now fill it up with people like you, looking to use the game as a way to make money. Many people who like buying items can already do so from eBay and IGE, and have wealthy, powerful characters on other servers. Most people on this new server are only looking to who are your buyers? Furthermore, when the buying players do come onto the server, they're going to see that forming a party and building a strong guild on this server is really hard to do. It won't be long till they realize, "Hey, wow, gameplay on this server sucks." Then they go back to that other server, leaving all those thousands of sellers without enough buyers. It might happen, it might not. If the gameplay on those Exchange servers ends up sucky, then this won't be the ground-breaking move some think it will be.

Justification and Heath Going in Circles

At first, I thought that Sony's idea was a bad one. On retrospect, though, I wouldn't mind selling items over something like that. Being a college student, I could use the money, and the people who would buy such things must have some extra, or they wouldn't be spending it.

R. Bemrose

Can't aruge with needs, I guess. I'm wary on the Station Exchange, but I must also admit selling some MMO stuff could be a great way to make gas money. On the other hand, playing an MMORPG to get that cash seems unproductive, since I could probably make more working...then again...if playing MMORPGs could be a paying job...hmmm. Man, this subject is twisted, and one can hardly list the pros and cons without going in circles like I just did.

*Head Explodes*

 Log Out

Thanks for the letters, stories, and screens, those of you that emailed them to me. Big thanks indeed. Keep 'em coming.

These were good letters, but I feel you've been holding back from me. Let your feelings out, people. Failing that, did anyone buy Guild Wars? If you did, tell us about it, fool!

And let your homies know who done it, cause when it comes to this gangsta @#$%, Heath Hindman know who run it

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