Aion, Spam & the lack of counter tools

I just had it today, a week into Aion and the spam is getting to me.  So, I took a couple of hours of play time to record, render and upload a video rant on how horrible Aion’s tools are for dealing with this issue of gold spammers in game.

Yes, I know about /anon.  Disabling that is not acceptable as it also prevents other people from finding us.  The price of having that limited social function turned on should not be endless spam.

Also, yes, Aion has been out 6 months in Korea and China.  I am well aware that it has only been out 9 days in NA (including the head start) but the game has been released in the world for 6 months.  Are ya trying to tell me that Korea and China somehow, magically, don’t have gold spam problems?  Pft.


Nixing UNR 9.04

Well, after a few weeks of using Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.04 I have decided to pull it off my Mini.  It was nice having later versions of software but, really, the usability wasn’t there.  Namely there were the following problems.

Function Keys Update

Previously I had griped that hardware manufacturers were overloading the function keys and not making the long standing functions the default.  In it I griped about the Mini 10v requiring the Fn button to get the function keys to work.  Well, that is not entirely true.  While loading UNR I delved into the BIOS so as to get the Mini to boot of my USB stick.  I stumbled across a setting which makes the function keys act normally and require the Fn button to access the extra functionality.  So that is one less annoyance.  Just don’t understand why that wasn’t default.

Speaking of Standards…

I just want to toss this out to all the Windows people who think Windows is a standard and poo-poo Linux for not working with that standard.  Let’s talk about what a standard is both in the mechanical and computer world.

A standard is what enables interoperability.  A great example is the phillips head screw.  The cross at the top has standard sizes.  The cut of the threads ensure that every screw tightens when rotated clockwise and loosens going counter clockwise.  Even the sizes of the screws are fairly standardized.  This means dozens, hundreds, of manufacturers are able to produce screwdrivers which are able to fit and turn the screws, screws that act like any other screw, and holes which fit the screws.  Simply put, standards are separate of implementation.

Microsoft’s software, just because it is widely used, does not make it a standard because it fails the interoperability test.  Microsoft uses this wide usage to prevent interoperability.  IE, their implementation is what causes problems.

Linux, or more precisely, Open Source Software, operates on standards.  Because of this it enables interoperability.  There is proof of this that every single person who eschews OSS as little compared to Microsoft’s pseudo-standards.

This web page.  This web page was written in and presented by open source weblog software written in an open source language served up by an open source web server running on an open source operating system.  But it isn’t just this web page or this site.  The vast majority of web sites are running on open source operating systems with open source servers.

In fact most services that people take for granted on the internet are founded on open source software.  Typing in a domain name instead of a number like to get to a web page?  That’s called Domain Name Service and the most used in the world, BIND, is open source.  Email shuffled hither and yon by SMTP servers.  Sendmail, qmail, Exim, Postfix are all open source and drive much of that activity.  Web pages?  As mentioned most are served up by open source web servers, Apache.  The wide spread proliferation of the internet, the usefulness it has to most people in the modern world is founded in the concept of interoperability based on standards to which the implementations adhere to and not the reverse.

So here’s thought exercise I want all of those Windows fans who think open source is some fringe, ill-conceived and poorly written software that has little impact on their day-to-day routine nor worth their consideration.  Imagine where you would be, right now, with no email, no web.  No instant messengers, no plethora of downloadable files at a moment’s notice.  Imagine all the conveniences there are from having your machine networked with billions of others across the globe, gone.  Sobering thought, isn’t it?  Aren’t you glad that open source software adheres to standards and allows all comers to interact with it?  Yeah, keep that thought in mind the next time you feel like telling someone running something other than Windows to “use the standard.”

Function Keys Are For Functions!

I just want to know what it is with hardware developers that think that Function Keys, the keys that have been on keyboards longer than quite a few of the other keys (shift, on both sides, are you kidding me!?) are just little used things hanging out at the top of the keyboard.  Maybe it’s just me but I use the darn things as function keys all the time.  Yet my Logitech Elite defaults to them being used for New, Reply, Forward and Send, just to name F1-F4.  I have never used these functions yet every single time I boot up my machine I have to toggle the “Function Lock” button to make my Function keys have their original function!

In the same vein there’s my Mini 10v from Dell.  I don’t regret buying it one bit.  But I want to meet the upper management genius who felt that I would use Internal/External Monitor, WiFi on/off, Display Battery Life and Dim Screen more often than F1-F4!  I have to hit the Fn button to get my Function keys to have their original  function!  As if Alt-F4 (you know, close window) weren’t interesting enough on a 92% keyboard with 1/2 height function keys I know have to contort my hand to chord Alt-Fn-F4.

Geez, this reminds me of the tripe that my MX Revolution MMB is.

Hey! Hardware designers!  I’ve given up on getting a keyboard without the useless media/web buttons that just collect dust and grime.  I can live with those because they are extra and thus do not interfere with normal keyboard keys.  Got that?  Do not interfere with the normal keyboard keys! If you want to overload them for other cutesy functions then make the 20-30 year, standard functions, the primary function of the key.  Your cutesy, trying to fill out the feature checklist on the back of the packaging are secondary!

MMO Controls

Recently on Tactical Gamer I got into a discussion about MMO Controls.  My initial point was that MMO controls generally tend around the action-bar with cool downs because, while not ideal, is so close to ideal for the genre that it is progressively harder to improve upon.  I believe I said lamenting that MMOs use that control scheme is like lamenting that first person shooters use the mouse to look at WASD for movement.

The person with whom I was having this discussion pointed out that MMO’s could adopt FPS controls as combat systems were universal, pointing to Planetside, Tabula Rasa and Champion’s Online as examples of reticule targeting and that there was no need for tab-targeting any longer.  In my rebuttal to that argument I wrote the following.

Let me explain it this way.  I met my wife online in an MMORPG.  Seriously.  We met, well introduced by her then-boyfriend, actually :O, in Asheron’s Call back in 2000 or so.  Since then we have played Asheron’s Call, Shadowbane, Horizons, City of Heroes, Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates, World of Warcraft and now Runes of Magic together.  Now, I’ve played about three times more MMOs than she has (no joke, I am an MMO whore) but notice which three aren’t on that list that are mentioned in this topic?  Planetside and World War II Online and Tabula Rasa (all three I have played).

How many FPSes has she ever played?  0.  How many will she ever play?  0.  How many action RPGs has she played (in the time I’ve lived with her), 1.  Jade Empire and I’m not sure if that is what you mean by Action RPG.  Ok, 1.5, we did get into Dungeon Siege 1 for a short time but that was more a miss than a hit.

While you are striving for more FPS like controls, she is not and I’m content with having my FPS over <—– there while my MMO is over —–> yonder.  Simply put, there are more of her who don’t like that scheme and more of me who don’t care enough than there are of you.  Or, more specifically, more of people like her and people like me than people like you.  That’s not to say that different things can’t be tried; Y!PP is a great example of a non-standard MMO which still appeals to a large base of the MMO population.  But to look at all combat as universal is to miss the point that the audience itself is not universal and a good portion of that audience is playing precisely because it’s not FPS controls.

This topic had come up previously over on MMORPG and I hadn’t thought then in terms of the fact that there are players who are drawn to that control style because emulating the control style of other games simply doesn’t suit their play.