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BAD COMPANY GENERAL REPORT
EXIT THE GENERAL...
Ok, listen up lads. This is fundamental to the continued survival of Bad Company. You must issue the GL 6310 order as soon as possible - preferably on your next Turn. I've decided to quit playing Island, so if you don't do this then Bad Company will no longer have an active Leader. And we all know what happens to Groups without an active Leader...
Why Colonel Sverilix? Good question! Although he doesn't have as much time to squander on PBMs as I do, Alec is an extremely capable player, and arguably the only player in Bad Company with sufficient knowledge, experience and power to try and keep this Group going. You'll just have to trust me on this one! But believe me when I say that if Alec can't keep Bad Company alive, then it can't be done. He'll need your support in order to do this though, make no mistake about that! Give him all the help and assistance he needs, and you'll be ok.
First I would apologise to all Brothers for this somewhat sudden departure. After all, this really is a cynical thing to do. But I have no other choice. If you are looking for reasons, then they are many and varied. No single reason has led me to take this course of action, and I am not about to throw away 7 years of effort lightly. Rather, it is a number of factors that combined, no longer have a possible solution. Reasons? Where to start?
One of the most disgusting things that has happened recently, is TMP's decision to help The Dark. For those of you that don't know who this f*ck is, TMP stands for The Mystery Programmer, and he works for ABM. He found out that Bad Company had managed to monopolise Temple X, and were also actively engaged in attempting to inhibit Darksiders obtaining Teleport. Here are a few quotes which should give the idea;
"Well, I need to visit this side of the water a little more often. Things are happening over here. ANd better yet.... TMP got a kill. My new pet actually did someone in? Amazing." [TMP - 30.10.1998].
"Although I don't usually like telling folks how to play.... It appears that there is a real game balance issue impacting folks in your game. The following information includes some of the methods that can be used to avoid battle.
The real answer to your question is dedicated teamwork to defeat the group or groups out of control. And remember, ghosts count towards your 7 for sanctification. But you still need to finish the construction. Also, try not to end in the same square each turn. And run turns as they become available. A moving target is hard to hit.
And for the US player that asked... Yes, the UK game is much more agressive. Even worse than the old Shroud's Own hunting packs." [TMP - 23.11.1998].
There was also some comment about TMP being concerned about the way things were evolving in the UK game, but I never bothered keeping it. Although this bugged me, I didn't really object to it. I mean, if they want to cheat then so be it - TMP didn't tell Darksiders anything that wasn't already obvious.
One thing I did object too was the introduction of the new structures, or rather the way in which it was done. The reason why the new structures were introduced is because advanced players were becoming bored, and hence inactive. So you would assume that the programmer would make these new structures known to advanced players via Blurbs. But what happened was players were just left to figure it out for themselves, which left them in exactly the same situation as they were before - bored.
Of course these are relatively minor niggly things - nothing I couldn't handle, though they were annoying. But add to this the ever increasing burden of inactivity, and finding new homes for inactive Brothers, and it all begins to mount up. Still, nothing I can't handle.
The thing that really blew my lid was when TMP strayed from just giving advice, and killing the odd American Monster, to directly interfering with the code to undermine the effort Bad Company spent in Zargnoth. What I am talking about is the introduction of more Temple Ruins in Zargnoth. 'By popular demand' my foot, he did it because Darksiders were threatening to drop out if he didn't sort the imbalance out!
But what TMP failed to realise is that by doing this he was removing power from players who had spent a hell of a long time, money and effort, building it up. That's 7 years work down the tubes, just like that. Naturally I felt like flying over there and tearing TMP a new asshole, but I suppressed this urge and took it on the chin (so to speak). I suppose if nothing else we could at least boast we were the first players in the history of PBM to beat an open-ended PBM. But somehow it didn't feel like we'd won anything...
Nethertheless, myself and a couple of other Brothers had been working on other things - and at about this time we finally managed a breakthrough which gave us the edge over all over Groups. What we discovered was that by using Yellow Lotus Elixir before Yelling, you can Yell as many times as you want, without becoming Yelled Out! You have Mark Duncan to thank for that little gem. So at least we could get into Zargnoth (and hence get Teleport), far more quickly than any other Group could ever dream of. Astoundingly, in 7 years of play, it was the first time anyone had ever figured this out! How do I know this?
Because I personally tested it, and it worked! But lo and behold, the very next Turn on which I tried to do this, Yell had been "adjusted" so it now operates in the normal way - I don't know if KJC or ABM were responsible for modifying the code, and I really don't care. That was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. Enough is enough.
So what's going to happen now? Well, my leaving takes another 14 or 15 Monsters directly out of the game, although I've asked KJC to transfer them all to Alec's account so he can distribute them as he sees fit. There will obviously be knock-on effects, given that I was the primary supplier of information for so many other Monsters (not just Brothers). I don't know how serious these will be. In the best possible case a couple of other players will quit, but in the worst possible case Bad Company will collapse, along with The Light, and KJC would likely lose 50 Monsters - possibly more.
When you realise that my Monsters alone earned KJC well over £800 a year, you might begin to realise just how badly this is going to hit them. This could cost KJC thousands, and since cash is the only thing they're interested in, it's going to hit them where it hurts. In effect my objection to recent events will be made in the most effective possible way, as you might expect. Worse still, this cash is going to Madhouse, a direct competitor...
Most of you know that KJC are prepared to go to quite extreme lengths to protect their cashflow, and it is just possible that they might ask ABM to reverse the recent changes. But in order to ensure my continued play and sustained effort, they would have to come up with some gratuitous compensation not only for myself, but for every member of this Group. We are talking Dragonbone Swords and Teleport for all Brothers, minimum - the compensation for all this wasted effort, and tinkering with the balance of power, would have to be both outrageous, and blatant.
It would have to demonstrate, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that The Dark had made a fundamental error in asking TMP to meddle directly with the balance of power on The Island, and in future Darksiders had to stick to the rules. And TMP too, for that matter. Despite the fact that they are going to lose a lot of cash, this isn't going to happen! Draco and his followers would probably drop out in protest, and rather than risk making a bad situation worse, KJC will most likely make do with what they've got. Besides, I haven't asked KJC to do anything other than transfer my Brothers to Alec, so this probably won't even cross their minds.
THAT'S ALL FOLKS!
Paradoxically, this means that all the information I have is now available to all Brothers! If you send me a couple of 1.44Mb disks, I'll put the MMapper onto one (as long as Alec doesn't object to this on the grounds of security), and copy every Bad Company Report onto the other. In addition to this, I have a couple of very tasty battle-maps knocking around. One is small, being only some 4 square meters, but the other is massive - some 9 square meters! I've also got a reasonably recent Blurb Book hanging around. First come, first served, and you'll have to cover postage...
OR IS IT?
Since I develop PBMs myself, I'm not about to jack it all in now! If you have any problems, need any advice, maps and other information, I'll keep all the Island stuff on file just in case. I talk to PBMers from all over the world, and from a variety of games, on a regular basis - so if you want to keep in touch, then you are more than welcome. Indeed, you might be interested to know which PBM I'm switching to, in case you're also looking for a new challenge...
Dungeon, by Madhouse. At first sight it looks a tad dodgy, but I can assure you it's a real corker. It's the standard fantasy scenario, so nothing new here. But the interest value of this game lies in three fundamental differences between Dungeon and any other PBM I've yet seen.
The first is death. Life is cheap in Dungeon! I mean, really cheap. It's not like most PBMs where you can get out of virtually any situation if you put your mind to it. Chances are that a new player is going to die, and sooner rather than later! This might sound strange - why would anyone want to play a PBM where it is so easy to get killed? You have to see it to appreciate it! You can run up to 10 adventurers, and they can all move independently of each other. So what if you lose a few here and there? They're ten a penny. It has the same attraction and excitement value as a pk-MUD.
Next up is the physical movement of the characters you control. In fact of all the characters in the game! Turns in Dungeon happen 'simultaneously'. All the Turns are entered, and then the first order of every adventurer is processed (in a random order), then the second, then the third, etc. This means you can interact with other characters on a very sophisticated level, though the rules are simple, and you never quite know what's going to happen next. You come up with a strategy such as "I'm going to move a couple of Warriors and a Monk to attack that Goblin, backed up by a Rogue at a distance (with a bow), with a Priest somewhere in the middle to heal the injured. Meanwhile your Wizard is trying to keep as many bodies between himself and the opposition as possible."
Nice strategy, but it's highly unlikely to work out like you planned it! In the above example the Goblin might be in the process of running away from another group of adventurers (just out of sight), who are in turn being chased by a pack of Ogres - and the whole bunch is headed right towards you. What looked like a single Goblin turns out to be a mob, and when you get your next Turn back you're right in the thick of a nightmare. Because you can't see as far as you can move, these situations occur frequently - which also accounts for why there is so much death. This leads to a high level of excitement which is exactly what you want from a PBM. As Madhouse would say, doing well in Dungeon is simply to survive!
Third is the cost! It's £1 for a basic Turn, which covers all your adventurers (maximum of 10), and 50 pence extra for each adventurer. Considering you can run 10 adventurers (which are as complicated as say a Monster, as opposed to something as simple as a character in Quest) for £6 a Turn, it has to be the best value PBM on the market. You can run additional positions like henchmen and pets (read, cannon-fodder) for 10 pence each...
And there are many other bonuses too - like the ability to describe your characters yourself, the sheer scale of the game world, the massive number of active players, and the ability to post a note in a newsletter the GM issues every Turn. At the last count there were about 800 active players, which ain't bad considering it's a new game! God knows how many adventurers there are running around out there - it's obscene. If you like your PBMs relaxed and predictable, then avoid Dungeon at all costs. But if you like your PBMs fast and furious, then they don't come much better than this! Naturally I'll be looking to set up an information network in Dungeon, and get as many players involved as possible, so if you're interested in giving this PBM a shot then drop me a line. I'll send you the appropriate address and you can ask Madhouse to start you off in the Mines of Miasma. Although any such alliance would be completely ineffectual and know next to nothing, I can remember a time when the (once?) mighty Bad Company was the same. Look how it grew! Most of you will appreciate that the methods I employ get results, and I can't see Dungeon being any different. In fact it's actually quite refreshing to have to start at the bottom and work my way up again - to what, who knows?
So I won't say goodbye, just in case you need some help with Island, or decide to join me in the Mines of Miasma. But regardless of what happens, or whether this is the last time we speak or not, I wish you all the best in your quest for Teleport and consequently Priesthood. May you crack more skulls than I did! Heh, heh. Good luck, and don't forget to give Alec your support!