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Saturday, April 09, 2005 

Sloth: Confessions of a MMO addict

A while back an online friend hooked me up with one of those online roleplaying games (MMORPG - Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game). A buddy of his was running a "free" server for a game called "Lineage 2". Since it contained my favorite word (free) I signed up and gave it a try. I was completely hooked after the first session (10 hours). The client is a huge download because the visuals of the game are beautiful. It has a very lush and detailed world and even the lowest creatures have interesting animations. The client was a bit buggy, but it was gorgeous visually.

I soon found myself consumed by the game. I made little charts and maps and dreamed of all the cool monsters I was about to kill. I dragged myself to work and rushed home to play more. My family was concerned for me because this was all I did.

Then, suddenly, the server was shut down due to its "free" nature. The owners of the “pay” service don’t like someone giving it away for “free” I guess. My world crumbled, I was adrift in free time and had “the shakes” from not being able to play. I even considered (GASP!) PAYING FOR IT. Lucky for me, I quickly came to my senses.

I was poking around on the net one day and found out that there are a number of these “free” servers out there, just waiting for me to access. I chose a server called “Lineage 2 Underground” (l2u), signed up for a “free” account, reinstalled the software and was happily off to “Lineage 2 land” again! I couldn’t believe my luck!

This server had a much different flavor than the old one. I didn’t know anyone and even though it was listed as a US based server, most of the people online were from the Netherlands. The people were all very nice and I was welcomed into a clan almost right away, so I started to feel more at home and started to get into it again. It was about this time that I started to notice that the “administrator”, a guy called "Aseren", was really sensitive. By this I mean that whenever he was on the IRC channel (almost always) there was a menacing quality about the conversation. The sorest subject was asking about the server status. If the server was currently down (often) Aseren would snap and threaten to ban anyone that asked about it being down or why it was down or when it might be back up. Virtually any question was met with hostility or a whine about it not being his fault. I even heard him wonder in IRC why he was never able to get a full game server going, I bit my tongue in order to avoid the ever-present ban.

The atmosphere was MUCH different when Aseren wasn’t around, people joked, had fun, called each other “hippies” and talked about Heavy Metal music. The regulars were a bunch of really cool and friendly people that accepted just about anyone. If it weren’t for Aseren, this would have been a very nice community of online friends.

Well, eventually I had to ask Aseren for some help. One of the quests was broken and my character was not able to advance until this quest was complete. He said that he would fix it so my character would get to “skip” the advancement quest since it was broken. I thought this was a very reasonable decision and would have happily continued playing once this small task was complete. He claimed not to have the time right then, but said it would be “soon”. At this time I was just happy not to get banned for the crime of pointing out that there was a bug in his “free” server code so I thanked him and signed off. I checked the IRC channel for him often and always asked nicely if he would do this fix for me. He sometimes ignored me, sometimes said he didn’t have time. This went on for a while, much longer than I would have ever thought. I asked my friend, the old server admin, about this and he explained to me what was required; it consisted of a few simple commands taking a total of about 5 minutes. I was steamed. I saw him in IRC the next day and asked again, only to be lambasted with abuse about what a “wanker” I was and if I didn’t like it I should quit.

So I did.

Without a word to Aseren or anyone else, I uninstalled the software, including the IRC client that I used only for the l2u channel, deleted all my notes and resolved to never play again. The first week was really hard, but it got easier as I found new things to do with my time. I have often wondered if anyone over there missed me or even noticed I was gone.

A month or so later, I got an AIM message from someone from the l2u group. He wanted to see what was up and told me about some of the happenings. I was really happy to find out that I had no desire to go back and play. I think I had finally kicked the habit. I was cleaning out some stuff on my system and ran across some stuff I missed during the purge of Lineage2. After tossing it out I decided to go to the website and see what I could learn about what was going on. I was happy to see that the site seems to be shut down.

I guess Aseren finally succeeded in driving away the rest of the community. Serves him right.

I hope he reads this. I doubt that he would care or know who I am, but at least he would get a clue about why nobody "donates".

Just in case it isn't clear Aseren, you are a Hemorrhoid on an asshole.

UPDATE: An alert reader tells me that the l2u server is actually up, or at least they say that it is up in the IRC channel. This reader claims that they didn't point anyone in the IRC channel to this blog, I am not sure if that is good or bad... hmmm

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