Lost Rambling

Lost has a lot of potential, but doesn’t apply himself.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Horizons sold! (again)

Sherman: "Gee, Mr. Peabody did we travel back to October 2005? I just heard someone say that Horizons was sold."
Mr. Peabody: "No Sherman. We never stepped into the WABAC machine, Horizons has been sold again."
Sherman: "Oh..."

I'm not that old, but I'm sure many of us have seen the cartoon at some point and this popped into my head.

Also the image three guys standing around with t-shirts Artifact Entertainment, Tulga Games, and EI Interactive. The first two have red/burnt hands and are trying to cool them while a hot potato stamped Horizons flies to open hands the EI.

I guess that I'm glad that my credit card expires this Sept, saving me the hassle of closing the account.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Don’t poke the bear.

I have tried to keep my blog game related, but this is something I felt that I wanted to write up and it is at least internet related (somewhat).

At office there are a few people that I don’t always get along with and they do things that I find really annoying/lazy, I would often joke that I wanted do a little something to discourage theses habits. My then boss Keith (who has moved to a biggest office within the company) would often tell/warn me “Don’t poke the bear.”, because theses same people could really make my job miserable if I provoked them and it wasn’t worth the cost.

Well this time the shoe is on the other foot and frankly this foot is made for kicking. The other day I ordered some books from Amazon and from the (re)sellers. Now I don’t check my email very often, but I do check the Amazon page when I have open orders. So I was a bit surprised when I checked my email to find that one of the (re)sellers had sent me an email saying the they had refunded the order cost because they couldn’t find the book and were not going to be sending it (aka I need to order it again and begin the waiting process over). Now since the Amazon page still open, I had the opportune to leave this person feedback. Now Amazon on their feedback page says “Please contact fast__shipper to try to resolve any problems before submitting feedback.”, given the email that was sent, this chance to resolve the problem was taken out of my hands, so I don’t feel my feedback was unwarranted.

1. (Awful)
Disappointing and Unreliable. I think theses quotes from the email seller sent says it all. "This notice serves as confirmation that we have initiated a refund.." "Thank you for your purchase but we're unable to find this book.."

I really don’t think this was unfair of me nor was it rudely written, since as I said in the feedback I was quoting directly from the email and that was the bulk of my comment.

Seller Response: "Unfortunately, this book wasn't in stock so a full refund with an explanation email was sent to the buyer right away. We don't really understand why a 1 rating (worst possible rating) was given when the refund was full and immediate."

Ok fast__shipper, you have poked the bear. 8Þ

"Unfortunately, this book wasn't in stock”
So it is not your fault that you listed that you had it available to sale?

“full refund with an explanation email was sent”
So, I should thank you for not keeping my money and not sending the book?!?!? I have suggestion, the next time you go to the store and buy only a gallon of milk, at the checkout thank the clerk for not charging for you for the 3 dozen eggs that you are not getting. If that sounds ludicrous, then you should reread what you wrote. Also in my feedback I cleared mentioned the fact that you gave a refund and it’s not like I made you out to be a thief.

“We don't really understand why a 1 rating”
What do you think you deserve? Based on the feedback scale?
5 (Excellent)
4 (Good)
3 (Fair)
2 (Poor)
1 (Awful)
I think that it’s fair to say that 5, 4, and 3 completely off the table. Given the fact that I now have to mess around reorder and start the waiting over again, awful fits in my opinion.

Now I’m not saying that this person is not be a good seller they probably are and given the fact that they have 5200+ (at the time of writing this) and most are positive. But I use the rating and amount of ratings to help me choose when I’m using a new (re)seller (at least new to me) and I will pass up cheaper (re)sellers for one that has a long and clean track record (as I’m sure many people do).

Up until now I have been reluctant very much (if at all) to talk about my job, since it isn’t in the game industry at all and really doesn’t have much of a place here.

The company I work for is a very service based business which provided support for law firms (and I have no legal training, so no free advice or suggesting that I be in the 100 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean *old joke*). Where our clients are very/insanely demanding in both deadlines and quality. And in the time that I have been with the company going on 12 years now (*cries a little*) and our prices haven’t gone up in that time, in fact in some cases they have dropped some (what have you bought lately that has stayed the same price or even dropped in the same time frame?). And there are times when we do make a mistake or late on a deadline that we will discount the charge or even give it to them for free. And keep in mind that in most cases (no pun intended) the cost of our services are passed/billed to their client (with a markup I’m sure) and I very much doubt when we give a discount that it is pass along to the firm’s clients.

So that said, I think that I know the value of feedback and good/quality service. Personally if I was a (re)seller on Amazon while trying everything to avoiding this even happening and it did, I would extra eat the cost and order a new copy from Amazon to be shipped directly to the customer along with sending an email to the customer explaining that was a mistake but it was handled and wouldn’t effect them (cost or time). Then I would find the person at my operation in charge of inventory and smack them in the back of the head and tell them not to let it happen again. But then again I’m old fashioned at times, I remember when I was young (late 70's to early 80's) that when you went to a drive-thru and the (at the time) rare case you had to pull into the lot and wait for your food, they would often throw in something for free (extra fries or a dessert).

So do you think a 1 was to harsh?
All that thought over a book? Man, Lost you have some anger management issues.

Monday, July 10, 2006

What I've been up to.

Again I've fallen behind in posting. So in an attempt catch up I've decided to post my comment from Evan Sampson's blog, “But Wait, There's More!” Which is a responce to Craft Thoughts. Which I admit that I should have read both entries a bit better from the start, but that aside here are my thoughts.

I think that it is a bit clearer as to what you are shooting for. Along with going back and reading social-whittling post with more care. I’m also going to take this opportunity to say that I got my feet wet in the MMO with UO. Which had very little to offer in terms of quests or mini-games, which I can’t say that was disappointing in my view (who knows the concept social-whittling might be left over from that time/player/designer base).

I think that if you want to design a viable social and active crafting, they both have to have their place within the game as a whole (which I might or not made clear, so I’ll expand on it some). I’m reminded of a quote from Richard Bartle’s book “Players will spend a lot of time being miserable if the reward is high enough. They’ll mindlessly click on the same “mining” icon for three hours, hating every moment of it, if the result is that they find the diamond they need to make a arrow of dragon-slaying.”

The real question/debate could be in evaluating each system on their own merits for the entertainment value of the player (which I attempted to touch on in my “RMT and game design”). While there certainly does need to be a “speed limit” to protect parts aspects of the game, such as the economy, are we trying to build a road with speed bumps or a 50 degree incline mountain road to climb? What value does long crafting/item creation times add to the entertainment value of the player? While it could be debated that it adds realism value, but that is hard position to support when the time it would take to make a sword in the real world would be much longer (even when converted into accelerated game world time).

And please note that I’m not completely dismissing the idea of active/mini-games crafting, I’m sure that there are people that enjoy them and would miss them if they were not there or worse they would view a “lite” crafting system as shallow. The primary goal should be to provide entertainment value for the player’s time. Much like any other form of entertainment (TV, movies, books, etc) what one person sees as great, another will think is mind numbing *cough American Idol cough ;)*. I personally envision a more streamline game and of course streamlining comes with its own pitfalls and challenges, but that is another story for another day ;).