Saturday, 30 January 2010

BvW war featuring TheHermit, and The Dark Hermit

As promised, tonight we had a special black vs white war in BP. During the Witching hour event, GM Ravenclaw logged, buffed the whole server twice and announced the beginning of what we all expected would be something different from the Saturday routine.

The rules were supposed to be simple: The Hermit would fight to support the White Clans' cause, and The Dark Hermit would help the Black Clans. It didn't exactly turn out that way, since both whites and blacks decided it would be much more fun to chase the two Hermits.
TheHermit spent most of his time outside the black safe zone, killing with ease.

GM Ravenclaw fought by his side and most of the people engaging them ended up stretched on the Bloody Plains' sand. TheHermit died only once, from what I've seen, while Ravenclaw slashed all his opponents with that flashy +12 saber of his.

The Dark Hermit had a bit of a different fate. I suppose this guy is far from being the player's favourite. Since his job is to make our life miserable, he didn't get any friendly treatment from the black side.

So in his case there was a queue of players from both sides chasing, nuking and smashing at him, while completely ignoring eachother. I managed to get up close and personal with this one and draw a reaction when i called him a KG spammer... I don't know who won this char, but I gotta tell ya, he didn't pick his skills well. Raven and TheHermit finished Mastara in 2-3 hits, while this one chased me around BP, delivering around 100 damage/hit, and being fairly easy to outrun (and outheal).

All in all, a little change of scenery from what we're used to in the BvW war. +1 for the attempt, Acclaim team.

The Disconnected Squirrel, over and out. Thanks for watching.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010


I don't know who's idea of genius this was, but my bet would be Historian's. Acclaim have opened a Facebook site. To what end, only the gods may know. According to the thread announcing it. "It will be updated regularly with special Flash Promotions and advanced notice of events for fans of 9D who are also Facebook Users. Just as an example, it might read: "50% Off Dragon's Tears for the next 30 minutes!" (And only 9D Facebook Users who have their feeds running would know the sale was even happening)".

Why exactly I have to subscribe to a site where desperate people all over the world send out mating calls and bored employees grow vegetables in their office hours in order to receive updates about a game that has a site, ingame notices, flash promotions on the starter screen, a working and fairly populated forum and a twitter account that's been all but forgotten by Historian is a mystery to me.

Why official and formal communication sucks on all these channels is an even grander mystery.

Allow me to flatter myself and quote here my reply from the forums:

Interesting that the game's very own IRC channel isn't officially a source of information, but a cra.ppy social networking site that in itself has NOTHING to do with the game should offer such info. BTW, I can't really remember when the last time was that Historian actually tweeted something that had to do with Acclaim in general, not to mention 9Dragons and the 9D twitter account is all but dead. But hey, glad you guys found a new toy to play with and discard two months later.

And that when the forums are a mess (that has been even further messed up by someone's "tweaking" but let's just skip this episode), the official site still announces LD as a new map and 9d support know, on the rare occasions they come back from wherever aliens have abducted them, only how to dispatch template answers.

Don't get me wrong, PR is great. But it'd be more... interesting, let's say, if Acclaim tried to develop their communication channels intensively and not extensively.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

We're ready

Some of the loudmouths of Bardo which we've already mentioned have actually doubted our "right" to tell them to shut up their whining for the buffs they "needed" during yesterday's event. Aside from the point that they have a slight issue with keeping needs and desires apart (the only thing they really needed would've been some good spanking form their mommies when they were little, but that's just my opinion), they wanted some proof of how much we've contributed. Well, I'm really sorry that I haven't ss-ed all the trades with the VGMs at Event Stage. I'll keep it in mind next event. Here's however a peek into the storage and the bags of our league collection char.

Friday, 22 January 2010

On goldselling, xp cards, and in-game economy

This is gonna be a long rant, so it will probably be split into more parts. Take into mind that I'm not very good at math or economy, but a few basics and a couple of logical connections are not foreign to me. I intend to stick to those.

The whole problem started this morning, with this post . Today the Xp card prices went through the roof, and they circulated for obscene prices. Fair enough, I've sold a few myself, but i tried to keep it decent and sold for how much i was offered.

The reason behind this measure is allegedly the fact that they can be obtained using illegal methods. Xp cards have been a popular item in stands for the last couple of months, since they were made tradeable. They have been sold for a price I consider way above their value (3-5 million gold for 30 minutes of 2xp), since you don't get that gold back by 30 minutes of grinding, you don't level in 30 minutes, and the chance to get an item that will be sold for the xp card's price is slim to none. Another effect was that people who had real-life money to buy XP cards became the people who handled most of the virtual wealth in this game. 50 xp cards could ensure the gold to buy expensive items.

The downside was that people who didn't have the real-life money to buy these in the item mall needed in-game gold to afford them. This is not possible for the normal player. There is no way you can get addicted to xp cards and support that addiction solely with honestly-earned in-game gold. If it takes you 10 cards to level, you've thrown away 40 millions. You don't make that gold in 5 hours of grind time.
To obtain that gold, there are other ways: a couple of months ago, 100 million gold on a goldselling site costed around 20$. As we speak, it's somewhere around 1-2$. 100 million = 20 xp cards (we're talking about the old prices), which definitely do NOT cost 2$ in the item mall. This is the cheap way out.

Now for us Westerners, the easy way out seems normal. We buy cheap clothes, cheap gadgets and all sorts of cheap and good stuff we find "useful" that is being made in some Asian, African or East-European countries. We are willing to pay 10$ for something that cost 2$ to produce. Whe don't ask ourselves why such a wide range of cheap products is available for us. We take it for granted. Mostly the stuff that is produced in poor countries and then sold in our markets owes its low price to simple labor exploitation. Western countries have laws protecting workers, and have developed systems to ensure that the work they do harms them as little as possible and that they are fairly payed for it.
Many companies have used the vague labour laws in poor countries to move their production there. This way, they save a lot of money by using cheap labour, underpaying their employees, giving them a job that has a high personal risk, and avoiding responsibilty (due to poor labour legislation) if anything bad might happen to their employees.

Ok, we mostly know that, and we frankly don't give a damn. We still buy our clothes, gadgets, most of the stuff we need around the house from places that sell such products. Buying fair trade is still a luxury, and we would never give up on our personal comfort just because it's the right thing to do.

What does this have to do with 9D and goldselling? Well, pretty easy. Labour exploitation is the source of all that cheap gold being sold on the sites advertised by those annoying Hefei spammers. Labour exploitation in this case means that a young person is sitting in front of a computer 8-12 hours per day, powerleveling chars and grinding to farm gold. It means someone is being payed 80$ a month and produces more than 10 times that money for the "company" he works for. It means a person your age is sitting every day in front of a computer, doing the same freaking thing you do for fun as a job. It means he's sitting in an uncomfortable position for hours in a row, being payed if he gets an X amount of gold/hour (not getting payed or getting fired if he doesn't), ruining his eyesight, having the spinal chord of a 50year-old at the age of 30 and getting a crap pay for it. All this so that we, the spoiled brats of civilisation, can buy a stupid def trinket, a +11 weapon, a 600 def set or a BBoE.

It's interesting how players only fault Acclaim for those goldspammers. It's interesting how they yell "ban their azzes!', yet they visit their sites and buy gold or items from them.

Maybe if we stop and think for a second (GOD FORBID we do that!) we'll realise that a lot of the blame for the current situation lies at our end. If we wouldn't want to choose the short and easy way out, the goldspamming industry would be at a much lower level than it is today.
Maybe if some people wouldn't buy that cheap gold, the prices wouldn't be as obscene as they are today. Maybe if we wouldn't be that hasty to level fast the people selling xp cards wouldn't control the in-game economy.

I probably lost the point somewhere around this rant, but the bottom line is: don't support the goldselling industry. You are not only damaging the game economy, risking your own accounts (probably your bank accounts as well), you're also supporting the development of a new type of labour exploitation.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

5xp weekend

Well, I guess congratulations are in order. Bardo managed to fully complete the second list for the event too, so we will have some nice long 5xp events in the weekend. Big thanks go out to all the farmers and buffers out there who helped achieve this. And a big chunk of those thanks are for our league mates and for the Disconnected hero league (see below why).

And since we're biased (or maybe not) and like to pat ourselves on our backs (especially when we deserve it):

A common view at Hefei Event stage:

The last stretch:

And done:

Thanks also to the VGMs who logged in to collect the items, sometimes (or rather 'very often') putting up with the retards that seem to infest the server more than ever.

No thanks go out to all the crybabies who will make me play with general chat / map shout / lion's roar off again during the event and the tons of them who will yell for a TGW to be spawned at their doorstep and the uncounted illiterate kids who won't be doing homework, but ask for "rebuff plsssssssssssssss" or even charmingly demand "fock acclame, give us the buff again!". (Well, at least I am assuming that these people are at an age when they might have homework to do. If they've outgrown that, they have an even bigger issue than I thought.)

Well, and a couple of words of farewell for all the loudmouthed "heroes" of Bardo. The ones who will reap the TGW grats during the event. 'Nuker leagues' like JT, NM & co. (don't worry, they're decent. I wasn't looking for a chat ban):

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Second collection list

It seems that Nirvana has already traded most of the stuff on the second collection list.

You can find the list here . Between us, most of the stuff was donated by the leagues not that well represented in BP. The Disconnected Hero League was particularly active either in gathering the drops or helping those who did.

This morning we've donated a fair amount of stuff, thanks to everyone who kept their drops and moved them to our collection account. Thank you very much everyone, we'll discuss a way to split the rewards between the people who contributed. Either that, or we'll make a league fund to get our newbies a good headstard and to ensure that we'll have most of the books, manuals, elixirs and things we need to level our chars.

We'll keep collecting items until the list is finished, and we appreciate any help. I suppose the most difficult drop for us will be the strange stone, as it drops only from Bai Wu Changs in ZZ. Those are located only at Twin Dragons, and there aren't more than 1-2 there. So for this one we'll need either to log our RL blackies or rely on the black side to bring most of the contribution.

Here's a little picture of our league collection char and what it donated:

Monday, 18 January 2010

New Collection Quest

Finally, a new collection quest has been started and the first item list is on the forums. You can see the list and the updated status for Bardo under this link. Please help us gather the necessary items for a prolonged and boosted weekend xp.

And Restless members, remember we have a collection quest character where random mob drops can be dumped if you find they are taking up too much space. Just ask around in the league :)


Update: good going on the first list. Only some items left and they are more than half done, so am pretty confident we'll finish this first list. Even if VGMs are again hard to find in the evenings - I'm having a deja-vu on this one.

And here's a screenshot of our league collection char during a trade with VGM Olix, who was kind enough to log in at some point at players' request.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

5xp event for Dark Hermit

What do you want first, the good news or the bad news? It doesn't really make a difference since they are tied to each other. Today we are having a 5xp event for 3 hours (though some of the announcements still read from 4pm - 6pm GMT) during which the shared account/mentally disturbed person controlling the Dark Hermit char will roam the Land trying to make the event unpleasant for everyone he meets. He has the Venom that VGMs use, which kills instantly and leading to xp loss for the respective player. Acclaim's warning for this is "play at your own risk". I still haven't figured the point of the Dark Hermit contest, the point of even wanting to control such a char who's 'job description' is just to kill any player he encounters but heh, who am I to judge.

Enjoy the event if you decide to play it, have fun in real life if you don't.

Monday, 11 January 2010


Someone correct me if I'm wrong... But according to my crappy maths, the max hp leech you could get in game at the moment is 35/1000. That's 4 x 7 on the weapon, 1 x 2 on the hat, 1 x 3 on unsealed epi and 1 x 2 from hp trinket. Well, seeing that a 7/1000 ornament currently beats the price of a Blood Bead and hp trinket has shot to the roof and I did not dare count the zeros on the last 2/1000 hat I saw, don't think many ppl will afford to get the max, but still... holy cow!

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Recent patches and refinement rates

After the epic fails that were patches 98-100, this morning we finally got a fixing patch.
The description reads as follows:
LD Crash Error Fixed
Master & Disciple Spy Character Added
Various Master & Disciple Quests corrected
Master & Disciple Band Title Added to Item Mall

It seems the 4th class Master quest is fixed, and we'll have to see how LD behaves during the following events. I'm keeping the champagne bottle closed for now.
What people are reporting recently, though, doesn't look that good .
I can tell from experience, that after using the "refinement urban myths" that seemed to have worked until now, this morning my gloves failed at +9. Not much of a surprise, I already knew +9 was difficult to achieve. What confirmed this were the discussions I've had with various players I've met and knew they always wore +10 weps.
The bad news was that refinement rate seemes to have dropped drastically. Weapons refined by TheHermit for his book purchase promotion, are now +8, 0/0 hardness, increase impossible.

The league already knows the Arashi refinement horror stories. She stands out as the unluckiest person in refining in the league. It seems the plague that is affecting her has spread to more and more players. :) (no offense, Arashi).

So, personally, my advice is: don't spend those precious BEs, scales and tears right away on refining. It's too damn expensive to spend around 40 euros on item mall stuff that does not guarantee any refinement success. Even if your weapon won't break, grinding with low refined weapons with all hardness used isn't worth the money.

We'll just have to wait what other "hidden" fixes the next patches bring. Thumbs up for the M&D fix, but the perspectives aren't pretty bright when it comes to other pressing matters.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Liaodong Squad Leaders

If you are / have been grinding in Liaodong, you certainly know how annoying those minis with the funny names and the ranged attacks can get - those storm leaders, squad leaders and so on. They are several levels higher than the surrounding mobs and give you tons of ew. If you team up with other grinders and finally kill them, you'll see them respawn a couple of minutes later to disturb your grinding once more. However, once you level up and go back to take sweet revenge you'll find that they mostly drop gold and are not worth the effort. I still haven't found out what exactly their purpose is (except annoying players in the area), but I did find out something else.

If you've been on the island close to the ship, you know that grinding there can get tough. There's the "squad leader chick", the highest of those minis; there's a chance God of Soil will spawn on your head; and now there's even lvl 170 Rudolphs. Yep, that's right, those red reindeer you might've seen are actually Hermit 2 level, like the highest mobs on the Ice Map. Grinding there must be a pleasure indeed if you are a CS player.

Well, after killing those for me yellow Rudolphs, I thought I'd get rid of that annoying mini too, for old times sake. Well, the trick was on me: instant debuff, disrupted nerves and backflow. They act just like bosses in that respect (unlike other minis, like Shen Mo's fab4 crew - I have no problem killing those). So save yourselves the experience and don't touch those annoying creatures if you're 24 lvls higher than them.