All the Second Life rabbits are doomed, thanks to DRM

Every Ozimal digirabbit in the venerable virtual world Second Life will starve to death (well, permanent hibernation) this week because a legal threat has shut down their food-server, and the virtual pets are designed so that they can only eat DRM-locked food, so the official food server's shutdown has doomed them all. Read the rest

Steve Bannon sunk $60M of Goldman Sachs' money into a failed World of Warcraft goldfarming scheme

I missed this story when it was published last Labor Day, but hey: when Steve Bannon was you know, a regular joe working for a scrappy, much-loved, all-American firm called Goldman Sachs, he directed a $60m investment in a company called Internet Gaming Entertainment, which was a marketplace for buying and selling World of Warcraft gold, ground out of the game by botmasters and sweatshop gold-farmers. Read the rest

Augmented Reality is a Massively Multiplayer Online world

I’ve said this before, but in the wake of the viral success of Pokémon GO, it needs to be said again. Augmented reality is just a virtual world, an MMO, a MUD even, with all of the same design issues, plus a few new ones.

The Warcraft movie is breaking box-office records... in China

The movie is tanking in the US, thanks to dismal reviews, but it had a $46M opening day in China, the best-ever midweek opening box-office in Chinese film history.

Read the rest

Online casino bankrolls largest-ever, ruinously expensive war in Eve Online

Eve Online ("spreadsheets in space") is the infamously intricate massively multiplayer space trade/conquest game where real cash can be exchanged for in-game currency , making the battles fought there consequential in a way that sets it apart from other games. Read the rest

Blizzard bans 100,000 Warcraft players

They were all running mods that let them automate away the tedious grinding that is so integral to the way that MMOs incentivize players to devote thousands of hours to their products. Read the rest

Own original art from In Real Life!

Jen Wang, the artist and writer who co-created the New York Times bestselling graphic novel In Real Life with me, is selling off her original art from the book. Read the rest

UK launch of In Real Life at Orbital Comics, London, Nov 12

I've just come back to the UK from my US tour for In Real Life, the New York Times bestselling graphic novel Jen Wang and I made; I'll be launching it in London at the incomparable Orbital Comics, near Leicester Square, on the evening of Weds, 12 Nov. Read the rest

Excerpt from In Real Life, YA graphic novel about gold farmers

In Real Life is the book-length graphic novel adapted by Jen Wang from my short story Anda's Game, about a girl who encounters a union organizer working to sign up Chinese gold-farmers in a multiplayer game. Read the rest

Announcing "In Real Life": graphic novel about gold farming, kids and games

Yesterday, FirstSecond formally announced the publication of In Real Life, a graphic novel about gaming and gold farming for young adults based on my award-winning story Anda's Game, adapted by Jen Wang, creator of the amazing graphic novel Koko Be Good. Jen did an incredible job with the adaptation.

Kotaku conducted a Q&A with Jen and me about the book and its themes, and lavishly illustrated it with art and panels from the book: Read the rest

Death Knight Love Story: torrentable Warcraft fan-movie starring Brian Blessed, Joanna Lumley & others

Hugh Hancock writes, "'Death Knight Love Story,' is a World of Warcraft-based machinima fanfilm [ed: machinima is a form of animation made using video-game engines]. It was made using full 'Avatar'-style motion capture (using the same tech as X-Men First Class), with a score composed by a BAFTA nominated composer and voiced by Hollywood stars!" Read the rest

Chinese World of Warcraft crime-boss sentenced to two years

The leader of a clan of Chinese Warcraft fences has been sentenced to two years in prison and been fined $8,000 for buying stolen World of Warcraft logins, then logging into the accounts and selling off all their virtual gold and assets. They reportedly attacked 11,500 accounts and netted $10,800. Read the rest

Spies clean up in Eve Online

High drama from the world of Eve Online, where a week ago, a spy stole 400 billion ISK, and this week, a trusted player who was secretly a spy masterminded the destruction of a rare ship worth 390 billion ISK (the in-game currency, not to be confused with Icelandic Krona). Eve is notorious for high-denomination economic shenanigans, including a credit crunch, a massive Ponzi scheme, large-scale espionage, another Ponzi scheme, and more. Read the rest

In-game hyperinflation

Here's a totally amazing and fascinating story about hyperinflation crashing the economy of Blizzard's massively multiplayer online RPG Diablo 3. Blizzard blew its economic strategy for Diablo 3 by making the "sinks" (places where gold is taken out of the economy) unattractive, adding in real-money-for-stuff trades, and then letting a bug run wild. Before you knew it, players were loading up virtual wheelbarrows full of virtual gold to buy virtual bread:

This was demonstrated when, in a message board entry prefaced by stating “Sell Equipment before Patch 1.0.5 Hits!” (a patch is a piece of software added to an operational program or application as bugs are found, changes desired, or ways of improving performance discovered), a player warned that,

Blizzard just announced that the drop rates for [certain] items are going to be doubled … if you haven’t already, you should consider converting your current gear to cash … since real $ [are] the best hedge against gold devaluation[.][11]

If historical cases of hyperinflation — real, and now virtual — have one thing in common, it is the instinct among its victims to blame the symptoms rather than the disease. The Austrian economist Hans Sennholz noted that during the German hyperinflation, “intrigue and artifice” were believed to be at work.[12] Similarly, a handful of Diablo 3 players, frustrated about the decimation of their purchasing power, expressed increasing suspicion of manipulation and conspiracy theories.

[W]hy [are] certain items priced [s]o astronomically high? Many of them are not even that good yet cost 100’s of millions of gold.

Read the rest

Space station cake from EVE Online

This amazing EVE Online Gallente Space Station cake was created by Duff Goldma of Charm City Cakes in Baltimore, MD. It's unquestionably the greatest MMORPG space-station cake I've ever seen.

Dock Your Fork in This Gallente Space Station Cake Read the rest

Dad hires in-game hitsquad to kill his son's characters

The Chinese website Tencent reports that a father got so upset with his son's nonstop MMO playing that he hired an in-game hit-squad to kill his son's character whenever it spawned, in the hopes of discouraging the young man from playing. Here's some of Kotaku's English summary, by Eric Jou:

Unhappy with his son not finding a job, Feng decided to hire players in his son's favorite online games to hunt down Xiao Feng. It is unknown where or how Feng found the in-game assassins—every one of the players he hired were stronger and higher leveled than Xiao Feng. Feng's idea was that his son would get bored of playing games if he was killed every time he logged on, and that he would start putting more effort into getting a job.

Despite being sick of getting killed every time, Xiao Feng decided to stick up to his father and tell him how he felt. He was quoted as saying, "I can play or I can not play, it doesn't bother me. I'm not looking for any job—I want to take some time to find one that suits me."

Father Hires In-Game “Hitmen” To Deter Son From Playing (via Super Punch) Read the rest

Warcraft-playing Maine senate candidate wins, despite opponents anti-orc smears

Remember Colleen Lachowicz, the Democratic candidate for the Maine senate whose GOP opponent attacked her for playing World of Warcraft?

She won.

Here's Robert Long on the Bangor Daily News:

Gamers from around the world soon rushed to her defense, making more than $6,300 in contributions via the website ActBlue to two political actions committees that supported her campaign. Those donations prompted the Maine Republican Party to file a complaint against Lachowicz with the Maine Ethics Commission.

The commission determined Nov. 1 that Lachowicz, a Maine Clean Election Act candidate, did not coordinate with the PACs for the fundraising and voted 5-0 not to proceed with an investigation.

As of Tuesday, outside groups had spent more than $184,000 on the contest, according to Maine Ethics Commission figures. That’s the fifth highest amount of outside spending for a 2012 Maine Senate race, according to the commission’s data. Of that total, more than $81,000 was spent to oppose Martin.

‘World of Warcraft’ candidate vanquishes opponent in Waterville (via Kotaku) Read the rest

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