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Tycho / on Wed, Dec 23 2009 at 12:00 am

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How The Illithid Stole Lolthmas, Part Two

Page Two of “How The Illithid Stole Lolthmas” is now available.  Hopefully that’s a good thing?  Every now and then I am allowed to write poetry for the site, and I relish the opportunity.  It’s something I do more or less constantly anyway:  if I crack an egg, for example, typically the egg cracking is accompanied by a song which details the process.  I turned in a couple papers for AP English in verse.

They were not well received.

After playing Modern Warfare virtually every night since its release, the most recent round of “sploitz” punctured the ritual in a way that dual shotguns or even people using Javelins as melee weapons could not.  With Duallies or Jav Glitchers, it’s easy to think of those opponents in terms of enemy type.  The Javelin altered a player’s profile sufficiently that you knew what you were getting into with those guys - it was like playing Serious Sam, or something to that effect, only without the customary ululations.  You had to interdict them at incredible range, which added an interesting (if sometimes frustrating) precondition.

Obviously, if you’re fighting six guys who all blow up in a thermonuclear fashion, that’s not going to be a great round.  And those fucking shotguns might as well be wands.  We discussed that already.  But neither of these things ever punctured the ritual.

These new hacks do violence to the experience at a more primal level.  Rounds which never end, and place the full eighteen players on the game’s smallest map, in glitched private matches that suck players in against their will.  There is also a class of global effects running around, and your box “catches” them, like a sickness - they persist until you quit to the OS.  The Unlimited Ammo thing falls into this class, as does some kind of Speed Force thing we saw last night, which seems to accelerate the game clock so that everything is batshit.

Weapon glitches (and frankly, weapon design choices which are indistinguishable from glitches) are things we can mitigate by play, and play is why we are online to begin with, so it is not utterly at odds with our purpose.  This other stuff is different, because they gnaw at a place below the game proper, something fundamental, until you don’t know what “game” you might be playing in any given round.  That’s not a situation I will willingly put myself in, and since every time I log on someone has discovered a new way to ruin it, I’m done.  The routine has been so sundered that even if a patch does drop, I have no faith that it won’t simply be the preamble to some new, more sinister devilry.

There was a full five day lag between patches on the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360; certainly, there’s more to test on the 360, but that’s no comfort to the millions of people whose purchases have been warped into something unrecognizable.  Microsoft’s sloth on this matter approaches disinterest if not out-and-out neglect.

(CW)TB out.

throwing the gifts in the woodstove


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