Archive for the 'Rant' Category

Forums, Forums, Forums… and trials as well

May 28th, 2008 | Category: Games, MMO, Rant

Ahhh, dont you just love the sweet smell of flamewar in the morning?

Well depending on the forums that you frequent this might be a regular occurance.

I shall copy what was directly said on a forum that I frequent (note, this is the 3rd post in a thread which started off saying how nice and peaceful the general section was after it was decided to move all “Rants and Flames” into their own section)

ep. All 15 people that are still playing are enjoying their short-bus game w/ no interuptions from non-fanbois. While 90% of the people that held on for TR to get good have washed their hands and moved on.
Most of them to AoC. Since they catch so much flak for pointing out TR’s short comings, whether in an informative post or bashing, they’ve left the site dwellers and mods here to bask in their pithy soloable game. GRATZ!!!

See you in AoC, 2 months after you hit 50! (or after the next patch that’s “deployed” and nerfs more unbroken game aspecs).

Now whilst I have my own opinions of said forum (which i have made known on a couple of occasions, and recieved warnings over) the above quote made me think a little bit.

If you are running an MMO, and you have “Official” Forums, I would assume that you would at least make them visible to non-subscribed members of the community. Hell even portal websites (, Gamespot, IGN, TenTonHammer et al) allow you to view their forums without being a subscriber to the game.

Why make the forums visible to non subscribers of the game? Well if they are official forums, then they will have the finger on the pulse of the game. You will be able to, and very fast as well, be able to gauge the “state of play” for the game. City of Heroes/Villains, World Of Warcraft, Eve Online, hell even everyones favourite “company you just love to hate” SOE allow non-subscribers to view the forums (even if you cant post on the game).

Funcom seemed to have done the reverse of what Destination Games (Developers of Tabula Rasa) have done. At least with DG they let the Devs post on “unofficial” forums… seeing as there a NO official forums for Tabula Rasa.

In this situation Funcom have “locked” themselves into a black box right now… Whoever is inside it (ie subscribed) can hear everything fine, whilst those on the outside can only hear mumblings of what is happening (via portal websites/forums). And normally as well, they are of a higher “signal to noise” ratio than official sources.

So how are we (the common, maybe slighty interested punter) going to get info on the game?

Right now its hard to say. Official forums are a No-No (see above), there are no major reviews for the game (just yet), and also on top of that portal sites seem to be split on “if the game is good/ the game is bad” (take your pick of any site, and chances are you will see “this game sucks, and this is why” posts, OR its more “tech support/asking about what class can i pwn newbs with)

So that leaves us with three (yes 3!) avenues.

1) Wait for a review

2) Get your hands on a trial code and give it a shot yourself

3) Take the plunge and buy the game yourself.

Ah-ha, but each of these has a catch though (for point 3 it should be pretty obvious)

1) Wait for a review
Yes you can wait for a review of the game, but for MMO’s these normally come a couple of months after the game has been released, although they might do a “quick hands on” feature for it. MMO’s (at release) can be a bug filled mess. I say can be, as there have been games released that have had pretty smooth launches (Lord Of The Rings Online being one example that springs to mind).

Reviews are going to be skewed slightly as they generally avoid “the community” by and large and just focus on the game itself (which is not a bad thing especially early on in the games life). But hangon, even if the game DOES have it short fallings (or is even “Teh best game in the world eva!!!11!!elevnty!”), the community itself is what makes or breaks a game.

2) Get your hands on a trial code and give it a shot yourself
Again, Funcom seem to have shot themselves in the foot (either deliberately or accidentally) on this one. You see, they have done the sensible thing and given a “buddy code” to each copy of the game that you buy (5 buddy codes in collectors editions)…. BUT have chosen not to make them usable until they get the game/servers stable enough (granted this is where I might give them the benefit of the doubt).

So what does this say to me… well it can be one of 2 ways. On one hand, the game could be soooo over subscribed that the servers cannot cope, and Funcom got caught unawares with it; and on the other hand it could also mean that the game isnt ready yet (hang on though, wasnt it originally meant to have been released October of last year, and then again over Easter, and then they pushed it back again? Makes you wonder doesnt it?)

So why on earth did they say that you could use the buddy codes at release? Why did they even announce it? To get punters in fast and early (marketing for the win)… although in this case it does seem like there is some spin on it.

And when/IF there are ever going to be official trials for AoC, they had better do a dual DVD version that you can buy in a shop as well…. not everyone can/has the bandwidth available to download 13GB in the space of a few days (yay! more time taken up downloading the game!)

Now at least when City of Heroes did their Trial Codes, there wasnt a delay as to when you could apply them to your account. Even WoW had the option to use it immediately (although WoW at launch had it owns issues)

and then there is

3) Take the plunge and buy the game yourself.
Would suck though if you didnt like the game in the 1st place though wouldnt it… especially as you have to take a risk on “can my PC run it”

Ok enough ranting (as it were) about Age of Conan (as i know i have done a large enough derailment as my mind wanders along a certain paths)

So why was I ranting about this? Well it appears that unhappy member(s) of said forum are looking at a place to vent their anger towards the old(er) game that disappointed them (although saying that, just make the one post explaining your reason in a clear concise and NON-ranting way would be accepted) and then move on… Check back every now and then but don’t keep on chewing the same old issues (they might not necessarily still be valid, or infact they might never be changed fullstop).

For me Forums are the place to go and see what the community is like. With official forums, you can get that feeling pretty fast; with unofficial forums though, you might have to scour 2 or 3 of them to get a general feeling (especially if they are in a “slow” period)

I will do the whole “We haz forums” Vs “We haz no forums” discussion later on in more depth….


Long time working this one out

May 26th, 2008 | Category: Rant

As you might have noticed now, you know have to register to comment on this blog (it will help me keep track of who says what etc etc).

What made this interesting, was that somehow the registration email wasnt getting sent out at all…

Hmm interesting, but seeing as my forums were doing the same thing, it made me look back into the problem.

For a long time (ie since around November last year), my forums have had NO email notifications being sent at all, and this was even when i had put in the correct settings.

Now remember that i am NO computer newb, and i do know the correct end of a firewire 4 pin plug… (still doesnt stop me from willingly plugging in a hard drive whilst the PC is on though ;) ).

You see, the problem (or so I am lead to believe) was that Hotmail and Yahoo seem to be pretty strict on their mail filtering systems, so as a result those people weren’t recieving their registration emails.

Hmmm….. me trying to get Yahoo or Microsoft to do anything for me seems like a lesson in futility, so i decided in the end to turn off the “requires member activation” of the forums and just let everyone (who signs up) become a member. And then just delete/ban the goldselling accounts (of which i have only had 5 so far from *cough*itemcoo*cough*)

Now lets speed forward to the present day, where i decided to set up this very blog.


1) Software installed. This went surprisingly well, even considering as well that i managed to upgrade the Wordpress software without a problem.

2) Enter in required details, and start writing.

3) Message on MSN from a friend saying “Hi, i tried to register on your Blog, but no registration email was sent out…”

Cue swearing, and then setting up said blog so that anyone can post on it (with moderation of course)

Hmm really? Could this be the same problem as I had with my forums all those months ago?

Thankfully this didnt take so long to work out (although I have to admit i was in the process of drinking a nice amount of Vodka yesterday, so when I sobered up today, i dove back into resolving this issue).

4) *start searching the Wordpress forums* AHA! looks like that for some people the default settings will not work for the sending out of emails (hmmm this sounds strangely familiar) and that you need to install a plugin to enable the alternative method of sending emails…. wooop woop!

Cue downloading of plugin (WP-Mail-SMTP by the way), install it…. and then totally forget my mail server password.


Hmm, strange, as i do actually use this mail server on a regular basis, and stupidly I dont have them written down. Right, looks like i will have to dive into the server admin (and pray that I can remember the login for that and retrieve them that way) and then change the password to something I can remember (although I do wish that it would show you WHAT the password is though in the first place… I mean “I am admin show me the damn password….don’t make me try to guess it”.

Well at least I got the password correct, although it did take 3 attempts >.>

5) Now that is resolved for Wordpress, I know proceeded to see if I can set it up (properly) for the forums… With information in hand (written down on a piece of paper that will get lost by tomorrow morning, I can guarentee that), I proceed to re-enter the mail server details…

And by jove! IT WORKS!!!! There is a $random_deity!!!

Cue celebration and messaging of people asking them how to blow up a mail server for it being sooooo stupid that it can’t what you tell it to do (especially over the past several months)

Ah well…

Plus ca change, comme la meme (if you can remember which Roleplaying Game has a short story of that title then you can get a cookie)

Gangrel (with hangover and typing ability of 2 left feet)


Oh dont you just hate it when….?

May 23rd, 2008 | Category: Rant

your mouse batteries die on you all of a sudden, and then all you are reduced to is the memory of ANY windows hotkey combinations that you can remember, and a slightly “picky”[1] gamepad….

Well yes, that has just happened to me :D, isnt life amazing and brilliant when that happens.

Thankfully i am quite greatful for my gamepad, as it does mean that I can at least use the internet et al quite easily.

Unfortunately, i have yet to set any of my MMO’s up properly to use it (especially seeing as i have just now decided to change my control setup for Tabula Rasa, from the FPS setup (ie gamepad ideal) to MMO (ie the more “traditional”[2] setup) )

Even worse, the broadcast software that I use when I DJ is NOT gamepad friendly, as it requires too much mouse control, and unfortunately, my style between songs is very “mouse intensive”… and the gamepad is too slow.

Maybe one day i will get it sorted out… will that be the day that i return to a wired mouse? *shudder* who knows for now.

Ciao for now


  • [1]picky as in: the joystick is suitable for some software and not for others :D
  • [2]well for me in TR, the FPS setup IS the traditional setup, but that is just showing my age in the game….
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