June 14th, 2007

Tom Lehrer is Smug

You know, I can see two tiny pictures of myself and there's one in each of your eyes.

By the way, in case you needed any more speculatory fodder regarding The Sopranos finale, did you notice Tony eating an orange or two in the first half of the episode? (We won't get into the whole orange cat thing, either, other than the fact that it showed up to bug Paulie while he was trying to get some sun outside Satriale's was hilarious.)

The first episode of the Sopranos' final season began with a montage and a recording of William S. Burroughs reading an excerpt from "The Western Lands", where he discusses seven Egyptian souls and the roles some of them play when it's time to die. The montage voiceover only covered a bit of the excerpt, and you may not have thought much about it once the shot of Meadow dancin 'bout in her skivvies showed up on the screen. At the time there was speculation about the meaning behind each character onscreen when each soul was described, but to me it seems that there was no connection between the visual and the audio in this case ... but in the end, the souls were connected to someone or something.

Here is the Burroughs excerpt. See how many souls you can connect with an element or character from the final season of the show! I'll mark where the montage audio ended with a nice horizontal rule. The rest of it I'll keep in up to a point so you can read on.

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Tom Lehrer is Smug

Evacuate this MMO? Now? In our moment of triumph?

The Escapist, one of those online thingies what talks about online game thingies, has a pretty definitive article up now on how Sony Online Entertainment killed Star Wars: Galaxies. (Sorry about the crummy fake-magazine click-here-to-turn-the-page design; sure as hell wasn't my idea.)

The article features a comprehensive consolidated (yes, I know) history of the game and the changes, from the Jump to Lightspeed expansion to the Combat Upgrade to the New Game Enhancement Coffin Nails... but the most important part is the moral, conveniently presented in the third paragraph of the article: DON'T CHANGE THE GAME AFTER LAUNCH.

However I think the most poignant moment in the article involves this quote regarding the New Game Experience, which cruelly removed Creature Handlers and Droid Engineers, the two "pet" classes, from the game. As a former Creature Handler with a Bantha named Snuffleupagus and I think an ostrich-thing that ran around in a funny fashion and a really cool dragon-like thing I worked really hard to tame (forget what it was -- no, it wasn't a Krayt) I could seriously empathize with the folks described below:
The saddest thing I ever saw in SWG was the night before the NGE on the Euro servers... Creature Handlers taking out their favourite pets one last time, petting and playing with them. Perhaps they thought they'd still be able to pull them out; maybe they knew. I am not joking when I say that the conversations I overheard between them then brought a lump to my throat. And I knew then that what SOE was doing was a breach of faith. I became then as angry as the rest of us. (Terra Nova blog, "Order 66," comment by Chewster, 12/16/2005)
Sure, it's all just magnetic media containing zeroes and ones on someone else's computer, but when you put such emotional investment into a game (and let's face it, pet class players do tend to make connections with the pets they like) and it's wiped in an arbitrary move made by some executives who didn't think your way of having fun in the game wasn't worth it, well, yeah.

Nerfs is one thing, but overall game revamps is another.
Guyball - Top Miler

thank you boston dot com!

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