EBay Rebans Game Auctions

I wish people would stop FREAKIN’ OUT about eBay’s recent press event — eBay is delisting auctions of game property again. Did I say again? I meant STILL. (Fucking duh, people.)

An incomplete timeline and history lesson (because although the blog never lies, back then, the blog didn’t exist):

October 1999 – EverQuest’s handlers, 989 Studios, Verant Interactive and, what would become SOE, Sony Computer Entertainment of America, Inc. forbids players from selling EQ’s virtual property to other players. The collective EQ population thinks, “wtf, people are doing that? How can I do that?” Also in that article: at the time of its writing, there were over 1500 eBay auctions for EQ items and characters (possibly true) and EQ was released February 1999 (not true — it was March 1999).

April 2000 – Sony decides that “forbid” is a sissy word and BANS the sale of EQ items and characters from one player to another. The noob population thinks, “wtf, people are doing that? How can I do that?” EBay auctions are still going strong, although “Smedley (of Verant, later of Sony) said that he plans to ask eBay to pull the game items off its site. eBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove said eBay would likely agree to do so.”

January 2001 – EBay bans the sale of virtual items and characters on their auction site. (It’s even in fucking Wikipedia, fercrissakes.) The EQ EBay crowd moves to playerauctions.com and/or rewords their Ebay auctions to duck around the new rules (i.e. Seller is NOT offering virtual items or characters, seller is auctioning his/her time to acquire the items or to build the character).

The more casual eBayers started working with the private, professional virtual property companies (IGE, et al) — players would receive less money for their items and characters, but it was considered safer and faster than working out a private sale or sweating out an eBay or playerauctions sale. That changeover went down sometime in 2003, if memory serves. Certainly by the time Star Wars Galaxies was released (June 2003), IGE and its brethren were the preferred methods for casual sellers and buyers.

Which brings us to January 2007’s press event. Yawn.

Today’s Lessons:

#1. Apparently, the internet population completely turns over every few years and what was old is new again.

#2. Please people, if you want to dabble in virtual trade, seek the counsel of a guildmate or e-friend who has some experience. They can guide your noob ass through the maze that is the Virtual Goods Black Market.

#3. You can get “it” on eBay, unless “it” is virtual property. Still.

#4. When eBay announces they’re banning auctions of Vanguard items and characters, let’s all agree not to FREAK OUT. Thank you.

Be Prepared

Are you looking for a midnight release party to attend next week Monday/Tuesday for The Burning Crusade? Ok, maybe you have a nerd friend who wants to go to a par-TAY for TBC and he asked you to find a loc. Whoever the hell is the nerd in question, Gamestop and EBGames can be your one-stop shop for TBC at midnight. Your nerd friend should still call ahead and reserve a copy!!

Apparently, some locations will have optional events “… such as costume contests, card game tournaments, screen-shot character judging …”, but you and I both know that no hardcore, must-have-at-midnight, WoW player is going to have time for that crap. The hardcores are going to grab their box, throw money, “keep the change!” and run home.

Reminds me of the one time I didn’t preorder one of the EverQuest expansions; I think it was the Legends of Ykesha. During the day at work I started having second thoughts, “how could I be so STUPID to not preorder??” so I stopped off at EBGames during my lunch. Four of us in the store looking for the same thing … me in a suit, this rather gothy-looking couple and a sweat-pants dude. Worker told us that store had no extra copies, but the store on the other side of town had two extra copies, he had just spoken to the guy over there.

While he’s saying all that, I’m backing towards the door, getting my cell phone ready. (True story — I didn’t have all afternoon to hunt down this box, I had 60 minutes.) As soon as the worker gets to the “… first come, first served” part, I’m out the door. En route, I talked to the worker-dude at Store #2 — he won’t budge on the FCFS. (bastard!) If some other heavily-pierced EQ couple walks into Store #2 while I’m stuck in traffic, I’m shit outta it.

Like a demon possessed, I’m one with the road. “How could I be so STUPID??” Sure, Ykesha was a minor expansion, but what was I thinking? I’m gonna sit in Planes of Power while everyone is pulling in un-nerfed loot hand over fist in the new areas? As it is, I wouldn’t be logging in until the evening — best-case scenario, I’d have two or three hours before they hotfixed the loot tables and I thought I could wait to get the expansion on the weekend? Stupid. Stupid.

I arrived at the mall, walked (I didn’t run, fercrissakes) to Store #2, approached the register and inquired politely, any EQ Ykesha for sale? Ya, he’s got some Ykesha. About a dozen unreserved copies. Did I want one?

That lil mo….fu….

So when I say you need to make these arrangements early, I speak from experience. You don’t want to be making calls all Tuesday morning, desperately seeking TBC. You don’t want some lil bastard at the mall EBGames yanking your chain. Learn from my mistakes, make arrangements NOW.

Class dismissed.

Week of Fives: My Favorite Stories of 2006

In chronological order, these were my five favorite stories from 2006 — all from World of Warcraft, three from Le Guild (nothing like a raiding guild for putting out drama and angst!) and two from my travels near and far.

1. January 2006 – The Gates of Ahn’Qiraj are opened for the first time anywhere on the Medivh realm. Hundreds of well-wishers and curious observers from other realms flooded Medivh with level 1+ alts, created specifically to observe the gate-opening scripts — largest gathering of cows (tauren) anywhere, with bovine names such as Milkme, Gotmilk, and Mooyou. (Warcraft tutorial: the tauren starting area is the closest to the Ahn’Qiraj instance.) GMs eventually got involved and ported the cowlings to other areas so the natives could enjoy their gate party without being trampled.

I took some heat for running around AQ/Silithus with my own noob cow tourist, but there’s nothing like being there for mass chaos. I only wish there were more such events during the year, hopefully on my home server for once. Would save me the trouble of making a noob character and running him all the way out to the anarchy.

The series:

2. August 2006 – The “I Hate People” series. Notice how quiet my guild was for the first 8 months of the year? Ya, I notice it too. What in the hell happened Summer 2006 because it was just one shitstorm after the other.

Too many players involved in this shitstorm to name, but I enjoyed writing this series because I got a rare chance to toast someone’s ass who thought he got away with a lie. I didn’t necessarily enjoy LIVING through this drama, but all’s well that ends well.

The series:

3. September 2006 – THE EMO TANK!! I know you miss him. I’d say I do too, but that would be a lie. He’s trying his darndest to get back into our happy family so you might get your wish.

I’m voting “NO!” because I want to publish his tattoo pics and gang hand signs pic that I copied from our guild site a few months ago.

The series:

4. October 2006 – If This is Wednesday, This Must Be Naxxramas. I had wanted to try a live-blog chat-log type post of a guild raid for a while. Unless you are an online-gaming raider or have been one, you cannot know the craziness involved in organizing more than five people. Even thinking about it now, these are all adults, who can all follow directions (I used to think), why is meeting at a pre-arranged location at the pre-arranged time so difficult??

I still don’t know the answer to that, but maybe the log makes it clearer why “guild” is just another word for “nuthouse”.

5. October 2006 – No, I Won’t Dance Naked with You in Ironforge. I love these two nutballs (aka future guild members) I met in Westfall and Redridge Mountains; they taught me the true meaning of irony. I’m hiding from my nutcase guildmates on an anonymous alt, enjoying the peace and quiet, and somehow, like I’m a vortex for crazy, they found me.

The one guy did teach me an important technique for avoiding people. Whenever I don’t feel like talking, “SCUBA!!”

Bonuses after the jump, Other Favorites and My Five Favorite Screenshots of 2006

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