By Mitra! By Crom!

IlustraciĆ³n de Conan
photo credit: yotambientengosuperpoderes

So, you are rapidly approaching your fourth year University exams, you are in the middle of a week long, intensive course to get your qualifications to use a multi-million dollar Mass Spectrometer, and you just quit your job. What does one do in such dark times? Obviously a good measure of your sanity if you say “Start a new MMO”. Well, lack of sanity. The point is, I recently bought Age of Conan (collectors edition of course) and my usual approach of “No expectations = No dissapointment” seems to have worked in my favour once again. Hook. Line. Sinker. This is one of the few games I can see myself playing for a long time. I was there for WoW beta and it just didn’t hook me. I was there for Hellgate, and was I ever excited about that one! (true to my earlier stated hypothesis, the excitement only made the bitterness of its failure to deliver so much the worse). Age of Conan plays well, looks stunning, and has this unidentifiable aura of awesomeness by the shipload. Maybe it is because of my fanboi-ism when it comes to the original stories of the Cimmerian Hero, but I couldn’t help but giggle with delight when I realised how much attention to detail there was in the game regarding lore and history. You must understand though, I’m the gamer who will actually read (and enjoy!) all the in-game books in Morrowind. I’m the guy who will squeeze every last bit of dialogue out of NPC’s until they are exhausted and rolling over for a cigarette. I need to know why I’m killing him with ice magic! The topic of the depth of meta-story in games and other media is one I could talk about for longer than the sun can burn Helium. This doesn’t mean I’m not going to bore you with it, it means im not going to bore you with it now. So now, instead of all the dreary bollocks life has to offer outside these endorphin elliciting monitors, I am Ageotas: Bear Shaman of the Cimmerian Alps!

Ageotas - Bear Shaman (Age of Conan)

Ageotas resides on the Bloodspire server if you ever feel like a stroll through the wilds. On a completely different note, my Deluxe Edition of Trent Reznor’s Ghosts I-IV arrived the other week, and I have been meaning to take some photos and post them. Keep an eye out for that in the next couple of days. For the record, those are sidereal days, not the “I’ll post an update soon!” days that both Phill and I seem to have been working in recently.

SecuRom Employs Sauron

Lidless Eye of Sauron

Before I start, two points of order. If Ninja Kangaroo’s with an unhealthy car fetish makes you hot in the pants, you need to CLICK HERE and subscribe to Response Function. “Ajay” promises to keep it updated regularly.

I doubt I’m the first, nor the last to make comment on this particular topic. No doubt I’m late enough for the issue to have already seen it’s peak and resolution already. Regardless it incenses me enough to point my own grievances with the issues of today’s concept of anti-piracy laws. I should point out that I’m all for those whose job it is to be creative to protect their works. Just like a writer has the right (I love homophones) to have his books published and purchased, rather than freely distributed into peoples bookshelves, so do other artists deserve the commission of the sale of their work. To maintain the analogy, a writer’s wares are usually available for a full preview at public libraries. These Government-Subsidised institutions allow people to read a book at no (direct) cost to themselves, however the book does not belong to the reader, and must be returned when finished. Music artists have their songs played on the radio and on free-to-air television. The songs are not available to listen to on demand, this domain of power is reserved for those who chose to pay for the cd/record/mp3/clockwork music disk.

Being the self-crowned King of Analogy, I could go on. The point here, however, is that the Game Industry hasn’t yet got the memo about the “Real World” and the way this so called “Reflected Sound of Underground Spirits” works. Yes, we have demos, but last I checked there are security measures involved that work, and have worked for quite some time. I define work not as “make the game impossible to pirate”, but “make paying for the game an attractive prospect”. Books can be scanned and uploaded to the webosphere; as the more than successful Dungeons and Dragons franchise shows, this doesn’t hurt profit margins. This “Piracy” may not be acceptable by these business models, but it is still manageable, and that is the key point here. No business model is perfect, and manageable is the realistic goal here. Games will be Pirated and Cd’s will be burnt, books will be scanned and TV series will continue to be torrented ahead of their broadcast dates. If the current levels of Piracy made these endeavours less than “Horrifically Profitable” they would not be pursued so fanatically. Hell, I downloaded and completed both Call of Duty 4 and Sins of a Solar Empire and then went out and bought a copy. Why? Because I enjoyed them and wanted the convenience of being able to install and play them whenever I liked. Sounds familiar…

My personal history with SecuRom is one of the more tarnished relationships one can read on the interblarg. Legitimately owning almost all of my games, and cetainly all of the games I play with any frequency, I can say with sincerity that SecuRom more often than not proves more problematic than your average frozen planet treat. To this day, I have not completed Neverwinter Nights 2 thanks to a handy little fuckup in SecuRom’s code that wont let me load a previous save from a different installation of windows. As such, when I learnt that the Masters Of The Universe (Sony) had developed a new batch of SecuRom that requires a connection to the ‘net every 10 days to make sure you are sill legit, well, there was shouting involved. The next logical step is to just send a “Legitimacy Guardian” to your house and check for “Teh Warez” everytime you turn your computer on.