Just a Hop Skip and a Jump

by Alphaville Herald on 18/01/04 at 11:21 pm

Hi, not many of you will even recognize me, but I along with Prof. Ludlow started this blog. We had an idea that it would be pretty neat to be on the front lines of VR evolution, chronicling the social growths and trends, examining the linchpin personalities that spark VR wide debate. It can certainly be said that this was a great beginning, we?ve seen some massive coverage from the RW media (front page of the m-f-in NY Times no less!), and prodded some great debates along. This is why we?re proud to announce that we’re branching out to cover Final Fantasy XI as well.

I have recently joined the Ramuh server of Final Fantasy XI (a fantasy themed MMO ala Everquest) while many of you will cry that FFXI is simply a prettied version of EQ, well, you?re not entirely wrong. Still FFXI has a number of interesting features that should prove quite worthy of study. Off the top of my head I find the collision between Japanese and American players quite interesting as both inhabit the same servers with only a poor translation feature to bridge the gap. Additionally unlike most prior MMOs I?d venture to guess that FFXI?s economy is rather robust and well designed. They?ve integrated economic elements into their ?Conquest? system (the meta-game by which the three ?nation? via for land) and it is intriguing to see how much impact this has on their laisez-fair barter economy.

I?m sure other thing will pop up worth discussion. But, frankly, TSO is really, really boring for those of us who want a bit more game and a bit less, Jr. High social politicking meets freshman in college cyber-sexual experimentation.

Thus I?m making the leap. Any and all who are interested should look me up (I?m a Galka Monk named Squirrel on the Ramuh server still hanging around Bastok). If you are interested in playing and reporting about FFXI drop me a line and we?ll try and scrape together some World Passes so?s we can consolidate our efforts.

One a completely unrelated note.

Terra Nova has a wonderful discussion of Rogue Servers going. But one itch has yet to be scratched. It occurs to me that many of the people who read and report here, on Terra Nova and the various other MMO-themed sites have two things in common, A) they are established academics or have strong ties to such, B) they have a vested interest in seeing MMO employed as a philosophical/economic/social/political backlash-free experimental space.

So I pose this, why don?t ya?ll start a rogue server of your own, and link up the various media studies, comp sci, poli sci, philosophy, etc. etc. depts. Across this meat world in a shared experiment space.

Students could get credit for participating in massive online VR experiments.

It?s not that unfeasible. Many of these profs are already in position with which they can design and implement a relevant course or assignment and they are in steady contact with each other (Hell, most of them live in Michigan) making coordination a breeze. Profs can share shards of games or strike out on there own. We could have a game with a purpose, a fully functioning Massively Multiplayer VR Sandbox. I guarantee you that students will be clamoring to participate in these labs.

I don?t think one can overestimate how powerful of a tool something like this would be for academia. A system like this could, after a healthy trial and error period, spark and solve millions of debates, and serve as ground work for nearly limitless amount of achievement.

Sweet crap get on the ball!

18 Responses to “Just a Hop Skip and a Jump”

  1. Cocoanut

    Jan 18th, 2004

    Thank God.


  2. RB

    Jan 19th, 2004

    So will we see a FF Herald? lol. And at least they have made a online version now, instead of just releasing clone after clone on consoles. FF IIVVMCHXICHXII , such bs. lol.

    FF is the ultimate in false advertising. because it’s NEVER final. lol. it’s never ending fantasy.

    - RB

  3. Urizenus

    Jan 19th, 2004

    Don’t get too excited Coco, I’m staying to cover Alphaville. Poor Squirrel just couldn’t take TSO any longer. It was time for him to spead his wings (er, gliding membranes) and move on to greener pixilated pastures.

  4. Bob the Tomato

    Jan 19th, 2004

    So one goes because tso is ‘boring’…. sure you don’t want to follow Uz? Guess what, we’re bored of all this negative crap, if you can’t find anything positive about TSO to report then you are definitely missing out.

    Without giving somewhere for evangeline to rant, what else does the Alphaville Herald actually achieve these days? Maybe it’s time to put this sad little episode of your life to rest and go use your obviously talented academic mind on something a little more productive.

  5. Morrigan

    Jan 19th, 2004

    Loved the Herald, look forward to seeing it grow in to other “realms” as well. All the things a “tabloid” should have lol

    May also want to check out THERE and Second Life, if you seek something similar to TSO.

    After all, the Herald is becoming diverse :)

  6. RB

    Jan 19th, 2004

    Is good news good reading? no, Bob. And if there are so many good things in TSO, why don’t YOU write an article and send it in. Uri will publish it if it’s ok. Bad stuff is posted because it readily reporterable.

    - RB

  7. Kelli

    Jan 19th, 2004

    Hi all –

    Interesting choice. FFXI seems more “gamey” to me and less about VR, but it is a fun game. I played it for a while but didn’t stick around for too long. I do agree that te clash between Asians and Americans is a very interesting thing and worth looking at — they each play the game really, really differently.

    I kind of echo the statement about There and Second Life. I think There is a very interesting VR world — very social and a lot of interesting people. Much smaller than TSO, to be sure, but it would seem a lot of grist for the mill. Second Life seems to me to be more about developers building cool things — and that’s fun as well, but seems to say less about people and therefore less interesting, I would think, from the anthro or sociological POV.


  8. Dyerbrook

    Jan 19th, 2004

    “Hell, most of them live in Michigan”. Sweet crap, do you realize how silly and self-referential you sound? You think our tax dollars should be paying for state education that has students playing games? Play on your own damn time. Get a job. Get a haircut, too. No, wait. Grow your hair out, skinhead.

  9. Storm

    Jan 19th, 2004

    Amazing how these things work Dyer..i’m sure you got a whole head of hair…hope you do…

    My source (10:35:54 PM): anyway, Dyerbrook outed himself in the Boston Globe article
    andy_s_tso (10:35:58 PM): omg
    My source (10:36:00 PM): outed *her*self
    andy_s_tso (10:36:03 PM): That fool?
    andy_s_tso (10:36:05 PM): Yes…it’s a she
    andy_s_tso (10:36:13 PM): So she admitted finally?
    My source (10:36:33 PM): yup, her name is Katherine something, 47 yr old freelance writer
    andy_s_tso (10:36:41 PM): *is so good*
    andy_s_tso (10:36:44 PM): hehe

    Who predicted correctly Kathryn? … You acuse us of being false…but hehe, this is to much.


  10. Dyerbrook

    Jan 19th, 2004

    The spelling is Catherine, and that’s my mother. Sorry to disappoint. But I do I have a full head of hair LOL.

  11. academic mmog?
    In an interesting article over in The Alphaville Herald, squirrel makes a proposal for ‘rogue servers’ to “link up the various media studies, comp sci, poli sci, philosophy, etc. etc. depts&rdqup; that have been taking an interest in …

  12. Urizenus

    Jan 19th, 2004

    >Guess what, we’re bored of all this negative crap

    Well here’s a novel idea, Mr. Tomato: If you are bored with it, stop reading!

  13. Herald YUKCY

    Jan 20th, 2004

    Uri stop giving VAN attention its sooooo retarted i swear its the hardest thing to keep all this shit quite from friends ect.! I offerd u a good happy story long time ago u neva responded!

  14. Bae

    Jan 20th, 2004

    Do you guys really think you’ll be able to handle all the animated violence in Final Fantasy? Just something to take into consideration before you bestow your presence onto another online gaming community. Hopefully there’s something interesting to write about in Final Fantasy like the horrors of the BDSM community, and it’s detrimental affects on consenting adults in society as a whole.

    On a side note, I think a lot of people have lost a lot of respect for you guys, your blog, and any of your future ventures. It’s bad when your most loyal supporters turn on you because you can’t even keep your stories straight. I hope in the future you’re able to look back in retrospect and see that this will have caused you nothing a aside from repuation worse than those “unstable” people who frequent the articles you write, or, in the very least, that you learn to lie more convincingly.

    That, of course, was mostly for the professor. Best of luck to you at Final Fantasy, Squirrel, though I question your true motives for moving away from TSO.

    Sorry, RB, but while I understand your loyalty to the professor, frankly, you’re wrong. “Bad stuff” is posted here because the professor doesn’t have an academic interest in “the relationship between the real and the virtual worlds” nor does he care a whole lot about the social aspects of gaming for the majority contrary to his claims. Evangeline and the seedier side of online gaming frequent the blog in the name of sensationalism. More than anything else, someone wants people to actually read the things they write. The professor dropped the academic aspects and took a different path. Any unbiased writer interested in the academic and social aspects of online gaming would have roughly the same percent of “good” and “bad” as we see in the game itself. He gave The Sims Online a “National Enquirer”, and I’m really surprised anyone attempts to argue it’s anything more. From what I hear, the entire academic community disagrees with the professor’s statements and his course of action.


  15. CherryBomb

    Jan 20th, 2004

    “So I pose this, why don’t ya’ll start a rogue server of your own, and link up the various media studies, comp sci, poli sci, philosophy, etc. etc. depts. Across this meat world in a shared experiment space.”

    Sounds good to me.

  16. Harvey

    Jan 20th, 2004

    A promising start, but methinks the good professor feels he has an axe to grind since he was booted for cause.

    I’ve played since beta in three cities… found at most 6 people who were such jerks I had to boot and ban ‘em, never been scammed (although there were a couple of laughable attempts), and had exactly one run in with the mafia which was cleared up in less than 12 hours with a simple note to the boss. And no cults have tried to recruit me.

    If my experience had been nearly as negative as is pictured here, I wouldn’t have stayed a week.

  17. Cristiano

    Jan 20th, 2004

    Just out of curiosity, why not branch out into something like Second Life, which has a very diverse community already developed in ways that follow TSO to a degree. As the environment is based on RL, a different type of society develops than in online RPGs. FF XI is an interesting game, but I don’t think it has the depth of society to warrant covering it from the perspective you have covered TSO.

  18. Bob the Tomato

    Jan 27th, 2004

    Very true Harvey, I read the articles in question and it certainly wasn’t the game that I knew and loved.

    I don’t doubt for one moment that there are a small dodgy minority abusing the system, but as a general rule people soon settle in to a particular group of players that they feel most comfortable in, reflecting their own real life…..

    I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions from that last statement.

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