Washington Post: What’s So Bad About Cheating?

Originally posted 4/4/07 at Avataritoria.

Mike Musgrove, Washington Post Technology Columnist, does not understand why cheating is bad. I hope his golfing buddies know that.

Mr. Musgrove doesn’t get why we enjoy MMORPGs. Some people would say that disqualifies him from writing about MMOs. I disagree. Musgrove admits his ignorance. Then he thinks that maybe MMOs are only boring in the low levels, so maybe he should try a power leveling service.

He pays $24 to a Hong Kong gold farm to get his World of Warcraft character leveled to 20. Unfortunately, he finds the game just as dull. There’s just no pleasing some people.

But even after asking around, he just can’t see why power leveling would be bad. (He calls power-leveling meatbots “proxy fighters.” Isn’t that adorable?) He quotes the absurd self-justification of his HK gold pirate:

“The practice is analogous to someone who maintains a beautiful garden but doesn’t always have enough time to perform all the yard work himself, and therefore hires a gardener,” [HK/Singapore gold farming firm IGE’s chief operating officer, James Clarke] wrote in an e-mailed response to questions about the company. “Some purists might call hiring a gardener ‘cheating,’ but we believe most people are quite comfortable with it.”

Uh huh. I guess some purists might think hiring a gardener is “cheating,” but most people are quite comfortable with gardeners. What does that have to do with cheating in a game? Does this guy really think most WoW players are comfortable with the idea that the lvl 14 rogue in their PUG is an underpaid Chinese sweat shop laborer? Should I not care that someone paid money to “accomplish” in a moment what I worked (well, played) hard to accomplish?

I’ve made a big deal of the fact that MMOs are not competitive games. I’ve suggested that MMO players are meant to share strategies and resources, and not hoard them. But this raises the question, so what if someone buys levels? Or gold? Or items? Isn’t that just “sharing?”

The only way to answer a question like this is to ask, “How does it affect the game?” The kinds of sharing I’m talking about take place in the game, between characters. It’s part of the game itself. Power leveling and gold farming involve transactions outside the game, between players, made for out-of-game benefit (money). That’s what makes it cheating.

When playing Monopoly, I can state in front of everyone that another player and I are ganging up on a third player. That’s not cheating. But if I steal money from the bank and pass it surreptitiously to the second player, in exchange for non-game-related favor later, that’s just plain old cheating.

Of course, Monopoly is a competitive game with one winner. WoW is a cooperative game with no winners. But they are still both GAMES. And if you don’t play by the rules, you’re not playing. You’re just taking up bandwidth that could be used by people who actually want to play.

I’m not surprised that a Washington Post columnist lacks the internal ethical compass to recognize cheating. He’s probably one of those people who thinks that because Alberto Gonzalez didn’t break the law, he didn’t do anything wrong. Power leveling isn’t illegal, therefore it must not be wrong.

Link. Via MMO Gaming.

‘Lord of the Rings Online’ — Kuno’s First Impressions

Originally posted 3/16/07 on Avataritoria.

Well, after paying the money to pre-order LOTRO, guess what? I got invited to the closed beta. I’m as happy as a little girl.

I may have mentioned this in another post, but I’m the original, unreconstructed Tolkien geek. I first read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings in the third grade, and I couldn’t even guess how many times I’ve read them since. My favorite book of all time is The Silmarillion. Yes, I’ve read all those History of Middle Earth books, in which Tolkien’s son publishes his father’s old doodles and tax receipts. I’ve read his biography and his published letters. I can name all 13 dwarves and all seven sons of Fëanor. I even (occasionally) write Sauron’s Blog.

I loved the movies, although I can recite every single deviation from the novels, and explain every reference. I can explain to you the real reason Denethor went mad, where Gandalf went when he died and why he came back, and why it’s significant that Galadriel turned down the Ring. I can also tell you that Saruman didn’t die at Orthanc, the Galadhrim did not fight at Helm’s Deep (and never would have), and that Sauron is NOT an evil lighthouse.

So with my Tolkien bona fides firmly established, there should be no surprise that I’ve been anxiously awaiting The Lord of the Rings Online since it was announced in 2003 as Middle Earth Online.

It’s still in beta, and I imagine and hope that many of the small annoyances derive from that fact. For that reason, I’m only going to give general impressions at this time, and save any complaints for launch.

1.) I love that Elf characters start their storyline 600 years before the events of the game, and arrive in the present after the initial tutorial level. Immortality FTW!
2.) All the players with non-Tolkien names annoy the hell out of me. N00bs. My female Elf hunter is named Arthradha. Sindarin for “Beautiful Traveler,” it’s a name I researched for a Tolkien tabletop game a while back.
3.) The graphics look nice. But this is not the first new MMO I’ve seen with a metallic earth tone color palette. I guess giving everything copper highlights is supposed to add to realism, but it just looks strange to me. Myst Online is the worst offender in this regard, but games like Ran Online do it too.
4.) Some of the details are beautiful, and reveal the designers’ dedication to the Legendarium. Check out this screenshot:

At some time in the distant past, sunlight broke into this cave and turned this troll back into stone. Nice.
5.) When you get a quest, read every single word. Unlike in World of Warcraft, you won’t be able to just muddle your way through while ignoring the details. Pay attention to what the quest giver says. Seriously.
6.) Like the Battle for Middle-earth guys, the designers of LOTRO are eager to introduce new creatures not mentioned in the Legendarium (but that don’t conflict with it either). So far, all I’ve met are the Aurochs and the Cave-Claw Burrowers. An Auroch is a species of extinct cattle, and introducing extinct mammals fits well with Tolkien’s conception of Middle-earth as our Earth’s primordial past (as well as with the fascination Tolkien, an ardent Creationist, had with modern science and evolutionary theory, which he felt it was foolish to deny). That’s why I didn’t mind the mammoths-as-mûmakil in the movie. As for the Burrowers, I found them really annoying. I don’t find them believable, either as animals or as monsters.
7.) Thank Eru that LOTRO’s wargs are exactly what they’re supposed to be — giant, talking wolves. What the hell was Peter Jackson thinking?

I’ll keep playing, and letting you all know what I think. And when the game goes live, I’ll complain about any issues that still exist.

Nai Valaraukar tye-mátar!

The Top Ten MMO Excuses

Originally posted 2/28/07 on Avataritoria.

You’ve heard them all. Someone screws up a raid, or gets everyone killed at the end of an instance — but there’s always an excuse.

I’ve collected the top 10 MMO excuses, in the hope they can be retired forever. It won’t happen — but we can always hope, right?

If you’re going to screw up in a game, at least think of new excuses, rather than trotting out one of these lame old-skool justifications.

10. I’m a n00b.
This isn’t an excuse – if you’re in the proper n00bie areas, and paying attention, your stupid mistakes shouldn’t affect anyone but you. But if you’re not just a n00b, but a howard – some 12-year-old kid lacking the emotional maturity to play Wii Bowling, much less an MMO, well, that’s no excuse either. Go play Barbie Horse Adventures until you’re old enough to stop snickering at your own female avatar’s wiggling ass.

9. [Random Player] was supposed to give me [Random Buff] — and the aggro got screwed!
The truth is, not receiving the proper support from your party members may be a legitimate reason for failure, not just a lame excuse. If the healer isn’t healing, the buffer isn’t buffing, and the brick isn’t pulling aggro, then you may get kacked no matter what you do. But far too often, players try to blame their own weaknesses on others. Don’t throw stones – if you weren’t pulling your own weight, then the failures of others aren’t an excuse.

8. Someone was spamming trade chat, and it distracted me.
Oh, please. If there’s not a way turn off general chat without losing party chat, then learn to ignore it. It’s called “concentration” – you can Google it.

7. Someone was at my door / I had to go pee. (tie)
Ah, the “IRL Defense.” Most real-life interruptions are not major life-threatening emergencies. They can probably wait until the end of a combat. And if you’re involved in a giant raid – well, geez dude, just plan ahead. Or maybe you can take up a game that requires less of a commitment. Like Barbie Horse Adventures.

6. My character was so much more powerful before the update / before he got nerfed.
Well, boo hoo. If your character got nerfed, it was probably too powerful in the first place. It’s called “game balance” – and since the game is supposed to be fun for everyone, and not just YOU, maybe you should quit your bitching and learn to play your character under the new rules.

5. My computer / video card / monitor is crap.
Well then, you have two solutions to this problem. First, find a second job / sugar daddy / winning lottery ticket, and get a better machine. Or second, alter your game play to fit the capabilities of your system. Plan ahead – choose a character with ranged attacks and spells that do damage over time. Get buffs that help other party members. Avoid direct involvement in combat. Set yourself to “follow” other players. And if your system is too weak to play a game, then don’t play it at all. Switch to Barbie Horse Adventures.

4. “I’ve got chicken.”
When Leeroy Jenkins famously sabotaged a massive raid, his only excuse was “I’ve got chicken.” Of course, that’s not really an excuse; it’s more of a reason. He had chicken. That’s perfectly understandable, right?

3. I just wanted to see what would happen if I did that.
I’ve been overcome with the urge to do something monumentally stupid, just to see what would happen. And unlike say, climbing over the fence at the Grand Canyon or jumping down a garbage chute, conducting stupid experiments in a virtual world will not get you killed.

Just try your experiments on your own time, rather than when a party is depending on you.

2. That wasn’t me, my girlfriend was using my account.
Please. Like YOU have a girlfriend….

1. Lag!!!

If you have any other favorite MMO excuses, list them in the comments! There’s no excuse not to! Heh heh.

The ‘EVE Online’ ‘Jumpgate’ Scandal: Can a Developer Really ‘Cheat?’

Originally posted 2/12/07 on Avataritoria.

I’m often amazed by the strange, unexpected ways in which MMO virtual worlds mirror the real world, and incite people to exaggerated forms of the behavior we see IRL.

The ongoing(?) “Jumpgate” scandal in EVE Online illustrates the most common lesson of modern politics — the cover up is always worse than the crime.

Without going into the tedious details, it seems that at least one EVE Online developer was cheating, using his “powers” as a developer to provide serious advantages for his friends in-game. This, and other alleged misconduct, was discovered by a player who operated as a spy in-game, finding ways to get into private “corporate” and “alliance” message boards, and then selling the information he found to competing corporations.

From what I understand (I am still an EVE n00b), the spy player, who calls himself Kugutsumen after a villain from the tentacle-porn anime La Blue Girl, performed his espionage activities without cheating, through bribery and social engineering. But all of his accounts were permanently banned when he brought his evidence of cheating to the EVE community.

CCP, the Icelandic company that runs EVE, was reticent to take any action, but their hand was forced by outrage in the community. One core developer called t20 fell on his sword, and admitted to wrongdoing. Now some community members are calling for his firing.

I have a couple of thoughts on this situation.

1.) I don’t believe for a second that everyone at CCP didn’t know what everyone else was doing. When they got caught, the response should have been honest, straightforward, and immediate. Trying to cover up a scandal never, ever works; and people can be very forgiving when you step up and admit “my bad.”

Also, never shoot the messenger. CCP is mad at Kugutsumen because he went straight to the community, instead of privately reporting his suspicions to CCP. Kugutsumen got this email from lead GM Grimmi:

It can be said with some fairness that the posts you made have caused quite the uproar and created an atmosphere that makes all our lives that much more harder. CCP does not condone cheating, for sure, but dealing with matters such as this one is not made any easier with all the ruckus.

Yet it seems clear that without the “ruckus,” CCP would not have responded. Besides, Kugutsumen is not a CCP employee. He is a community member, and his loyalty is to the community. He pays (paid) for five different accounts — CCP works for him, not the other way around.

Banning Kugutsumen is based on two violations of the Terms of Service. He made CCP’s lives harder (seriously, that’s their claim); and he posted the IRL names of the game devs. On the first count, it’s not a player’s job to make the game creators’ lives easier. Clearly, players should not be allowed to interfere with the operation of the game; but this is to keep players from suffering, not devs. And Kugutsumen was trying to protect players, not inconvenience them. He seems to have correctly believed that inconveniencing the devs was not an issue.

On the second count, players should not try to access or disseminate the IRL info of other players. This is a serious issue. But Kugutsumen did not do this. He posted proof that certain characters were being played by devs. Devs are not private citizens — they are accountable to the community. Kugutsumen did not post their home addresses or anything like that, just their names. I fail to see the harm in this, except insofar as CCP devs prefer to play EVE anonymously.

2.) Did t20 and/or other CCP devs in fact do anything wrong? It seems that by the specific rules laid down by CCP, they did. EVE devs are supposed to play according to the same rules as everyone else.

But a dev is, for all intents and purposes, a game master. They design and run the game. It seems to me that anything a dev does is just “the game.” A dev may do something foolish that decreases the fun of the players, but I don’t see how it’s “cheating.” Maybe t20 actually improved game play through his activities, not just for his friends, but for everybody. I don’t know.

But I think if someone pointed out some egregious “injustice,” and I discovered that the offender was a dev or a GM, I would just say, “oh, it’s a GM,” and forget about it.

Maybe this just comes from decades of running tabletop role-playing games. But when I was a game master, I certainly didn’t like to be second-guessed.

Even if t20 broke company policy, I don’t think he should necessarily lose his job. That’s a very serious punishment. I certainly think that decision is up to CCP, and not a mob of angry community members.

MMO players spend a lot of time and money on their hobby, and they need to know that the game company is honest and responsive. CCP’s problem here was not the “crime,” but how they dealt with it. Players must never be treated like an annoyance (even if they are annoying).

eBay Finally Bans Gold Sales — Chinese Economy Collapses

The ongoing war to put an end to organized cheating in MMOs has seen another victory.

Online auction house eBay is finally implementing their own policies, and “delisting” any attempt to sell in-game items and currency that does not have the specific permission of the copyright holder, i.e. the game publisher.

While I’m not usually a big fan of copyright enforcement when it gets in the way of consumer fair use, this is a special case. Gold farmers and their customers don’t contribute to a game — they destroy it, cheating in a way that ruins the enjoyment for other users.

The issue of who owns virtual property is an important and complex one, and I’d hate to see game companies abusing copyright law to control intellectual property created by users. But that’s not what is happening here.

I also dislike it when eBay bans auctions to satisfy the wishes of some corporation — for instance, when I couldn’t sell my Japanese Dreamcast on eBay. My Dreamcast was a block of atoms that I had purchased fair and square. I owned it, and I had the right to sell it.

But when a region-locked console gets sold by a consumer, no one is hurt, not even the console manufacturer enforcing the policy. Gold farming hurts everyone.

eBay FTW.

‘Second Life’ Proves It: Capitalism Is a FRAUD

Valleywag has posted a examination of Second Life’s virtual economy by a real, live financial consultant who actually investigated what happens when you use Linden dollars as an investment to make real dollars. He characterizes the Linden economy as a “pyramid scheme,” because the richest people at the top determine exactly how much money the investors at the bottom can pull out.

It turns out that inside the game, counterparty risk is tremendous. In fact, entire banks will suddenly disappear. Or banks will simply renege on obligations without recourse. Worse yet, the very people who provide the source of nearly all demand-liquidity within Second Life, those guys at the top of the virtual playpen pyramid, are the same ones who effectively set the SLL/USD exchange rate.

Basically, Second Life advertises huge returns in Linden dollars on your investment in US dollars; then they promise you can turn those voluminous Linden dollars back into real cash. It all works, until you try to pull your money out. Then the handful of wealthy SL denizens who control the market change the exchange rate, only letting you have a tiny return on your investment.

The joke of course is this is exactly like real-world capitalism. The SL economy is just an extreme model of a real capitalist economy, minus the few tepid socialist restrictions real governments put in place. The American economy is controlled by a handful of very wealthy individuals, who manipulate markets and lawmakers to protect their wealth and to stifle possible competition. There’s no “meritocracy,” because the very wealthy will always cheat.

They don’t necessarily cheat because they are bad people (although some of them surely are) — they cheat because the capitalist “ethic” tells them that protecting their own interests is best for everyone, and if they don’t do it, someone else will.

Remember — what this consultant labels a “Ponzi scheme” was not designed that way by the creators of Second Life. It’s just what happens when a few people become very powerful, and look out for their own interests. And unlike in a capitalist model like EVE Online, SL players believe they are protecting real money. So they act like real plutocrats.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we lived in a world where ONLY game players were allowed to behave this way?

Why Do MMO Players Hate Role-Playing?

About a year ago, and I was playing my Female Natural Stalker, Lucy Liunatic, in City of Villains. I was in the Pocket D zone, where villains have to hook up with hero characters from City of Heroes in order to complete missions.

Now, I don’t normally bother to role-play in MMOs, primarily because no one else does. CoX doesn’t have role-playing servers, so there’s really no role-playing going on.

Nonetheless, I decided to be cute, and make my requests for hero partners “in character.”

[Broadcast] Lucy Liunatic: I am looking for weak-willed, morality-addled so-called “heroes” to serve me on a mission.
[Broadcast] Lucy Liunatic: If you serve me, then when I rule Paragon City, your death shall be quick and painless!

Most people ignored me, because pretty much every character in Pocket D at that time was a villain. But after a couple minutes I started to get angry responses. One player complained that I had insulted him. Another told me he was going to report me to the gamemasters for offensive behavior.

Players were upset that I was acting like a villain. In a game called City of Villains.

WTF???

I started playing table-top roleplaying games back in a decade with a “7” in it. I remember when the only MMORPG was the original MUD. I lived through D&D, Tunnels & Trolls, AD&D, Ultima, Wizardry, Traveller, Gamma World, Paranoia, GURPS, Champions, DC Heroes, Warhammer FRP, Warhammer 40K, Fantasy Hero, TMNT, Marvel Super Heroes, Space 1889, Shadowrun and the entire World of Darkness.

The most annoying type of RPG player was the “power gamer.” This person cared nothing about the plot, characterization, or any other aspect of role-playing – he (never she) only wanted to build the most powerful character possible under the rules (often by tweaking and deliberate misinterpretation), and then level up as quickly as possible.

The majority of role-playing gamers considered power gamers to be losers. They were usually annoying teenage newbies anyway. The whole point of a role-playing game was role-playing, oddly enough; so power gamers were often met with hostility and frustration.

But role-playing is rare in 3D graphical MMORPGs, the acronym notwithstanding. This isn’t because computer games are poor role-playing environments; online games like EverQuest and Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption are popular with real role-players.

Other games, like CoX, don’t encourage role-playing in their communities, so very little of it exists. Of WoW’s 222 servers, only 16 are designated as “RP” servers, with specific rules designed to promote role-playing.

The fact is, the power gamer is the norm in the world of MMOs, while role-players are the minority. As I said, I have no problem with this. Role-playing online seems awkward to me.

What I don’t understand is the hostility towards role-players. Try to role-play, even in jest, on a WoW non-RP server, and you will be ridiculed. Bring up the subject with MMO players IRL, and you will get laughter and baffled looks.

Pro gamer Jared “cha0ticz” Cugno suggested to me that MMOs have been overrun by casual gamers, aka “normal” people, who are unfamiliar and uncomfortable with the whole idea of role-playing. They don’t want to be seen as the kind of geek who paints lead miniatures and goes to conventions dressed as their character; so they view anyone who reminds them of such behavior as the enemy.

This hypothesis has the ring of truth to me. But the fact is, there is absolutely no reason MMOs can’t support both styles of play, even on the same server. Just let people play how they want to play, and understand that there’s nothing “weird” about role-playing.

WoW wouldn’t exist without Warcraft, which wouldn’t exist without Warhammer, which wouldn’t exist without D&D. Get used to it.

Ten Things to Do While Waiting for WoW to Patch

1.) Make a tangy three-bean soup.
2.) Take care of your calluses and corns.
3.) Prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
4.) Carve a gourd into a birdhouse.
5.) Make a starship Enterprise out of a floppy disk.
6.) Learn to read Old Icelandic.
7.) Annotate your copy of “Moby Dick,” paying special attention to passages that support the theme of “the deceptiveness of fate.”
8.) Give yourself a home henna tattoo.
9.) Give yourself a home real tattoo.
10.) Experience “spiritual enlightenment” by drilling a hole in your own head.

‘RAN Online’ — Kuno’s First Impressions

I’ve been working on my master list of MMOs, which has introduced me to the metric assload of small- and medium-sized online games out there in the world. Most are Japanese or Korean, but a whole lot of them come out of Malaysia.

One that particularly caught my eye is RAN Online, from MIN Communications in South Korea (the English-language international version is run by e-Games of Malaysia, the people who bring you Knight Online and Battle Position, amongst others). This is a high-school-based martial arts game, after the fashion of a thousand different anime series, Volcano High School, and Battle Royale. They even have a one-player version based on Battle Royale.

Well, Battle Royale and Volcano High School (the Korean version, NOT the execrable American “hip-hop” dub) are two of my favorite movies. And as my online handle might reveal, I’m something of a fan of Ranma Nibunnoichi, the ultimate high school martial arts anime and manga. So I had to try it.

This is not a review of RAN Online, as I’ve only played it for one evening. These are just first impressions.

1.) The graphics are acceptable. I’d include a screenshot, but I couldn’t get one — so here’s a link to someone else’s screenshots. The characters look good (once they’ve been personalized with costumes you have to pay for with real cash), and the settings are nice. Everything takes place in one of four high schools, which are well laid-out and look interesting.

2.) Combat is just a lot of clicking, unfortunately. Gamers complain that MMOs like World of Warcraft require no skill — but even WoW combat involves real-time tactical decisions. Not, as far as I can tell, RAN Online. Just click repeatedly on an enemy, and your weapons & skills are applied. Boring, especially for a fighting game.

3.) There are certainly worse English translations out there. I could generally understand what the characters were trying to tell me. Here’s a sample:

Prior to the dispatch of all items to the various society, the items must be validated and approved to ensure quality, proper pricing and product type. The education that society members learned from there can finally be used now.

Well, maybe I couldn’t always understand.

I greatly enjoyed the “OK” and “Cancel” buttons, which say “Affirm” and “Abolish.”

4.) Does anyone know anything about this rootkit that RAN Online installed on my machine? It’s called GameGuard, and supposedly it opens up your system to exploits.

5.) The international server is called “Harajuku.”

6.) RAN Online is “forever free,” but you can buy premium items from a online mall. To buy costumes and items, you have to download a form, print it out, fill in your credit card info, and fax it Malaysia. I’m not joking. Yeah, I’m not gonna do that.

I plan to play some more, see what it’s like when you get to higher levels. I’ll let you know.

Fox Announces ‘Firefly’-themed MMORPG

Originally posted 12/19/07 on Furinkan High School Kendo Club.


[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Captain> Mal] Alright, there’s no getting’ around this. There’s Reavers on the other side of that door.

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Mercenary> Jayne] Wuh de ma.

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Engineer> Kaylee] We’re all gonna die! And I ain’t shtupped the Doctor yet!

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Medic> Simon] What!??

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Captain> Mal] Keep your heads! We can do this. It ain’t no worse than the Battle of Serenity Valley –

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Mercenary> Jayne] Aw man –!

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Engineer> Kaylee] Cap’n!!

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<First Officer> Zoe] Sir, I don’t think this is the time —

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Captain> Mal] I remember, I tol’ that young browncoat we was too pretty to die…

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<First Officer> Zoe] Sir, this is no time to reminisce about past victories –

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Mercenary> Jayne] You lost that battle. And the war.

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<First Officer> Zoe] We need a plan, sir.

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Captain> Mal] Right.

[Party Chat] [<Captain> Mal] Wash!

[Serenity Bridge] [<Pilot> Wash] Grrrr! Grrrr! I’m a dinosaur!

[Party Chat] [<Captain> Mal] Wash! Get on party chat!

[Party Chat] [<Pilot> Wash] WTF???

[Party Chat] [<Captain> Mal] Can we just fly ourselves outa this gorram mess?

[Party Chat] [<Pilot> Wash] No way, Captain. It’d take at least 30 seconds to fly out of this deadspace instance. We ain’t got the shields to survive that long.

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Captain> Mal] Kaylee, I thought we earned a Shield Upgrade 1 in the Niska’s Skyplex instance.

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Engineer> Kaylee] Yeah, Cap’n, but a Firefly-class ship ain’t got the slots for it. And since you refuse to upgrade —

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Captain> Mal] It’s the name of the show!

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Companion> Inara] Let’s worry about the Reavers, alright?

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Captain> Mal] Oh look, the whore has an opinion!

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Companion> Inara] Excuse me, I have 62 points in trained abilities, including four dots in Space Combat Tactics. What do you have again?

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Mercenary> Jayne] And ten dots in sucking a man’s yáng dào.

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Companion> Inara] <Inara glares at Jayne and rolls her eyes>

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Medic> Simon] This is no time for emotes! I have no combat skills at all!

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Mercenary> Jayne] Yeah, why’d we bring him along again?

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<First Officer> Zoe] He buys tons of Alliance credits from Chinese gold farmers on eBay.

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Shepherd> Book] This situation reminds of the Parable of the Lesbian Wiccan. One day when Willow was studying in the school library, —

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Captain> Mal] /ignore book

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Captain> Mal] Alright, here’s what we’re gonna do, and y’all listen up! Jayne, equip that Blue Sun Railgun IV we got on Bellerophon.

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Mercenary> Jayne] Now we’re talkin’!

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Captain> Mal] Zoe, click on me and gimme the Sycophantic Follower buff, and make sure your Dual Wield is on. Wash, I know you think it’s OOC, but get some armor on and grab a gun. Inara, make sure you got Exude Eroticism and Sarcastic Putdown set to function keys. Doc, stay back and give healing buffs, but watch for ranged attacks. Kaylee, give everyone the Indomitable Spirit buff, and test for tech weaknesses when we get inside the Reaver ship. Jayne, give Kaylee the Kevlar Armor II.

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Engineer> Kaylee] I’m an Engineer. I can’t wear Kevlar Armor until level 20.

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Captain> Mal] Taikong suoyou de xingqiu saijin wo de pigu! Wait, what about the Blue Hands buff? That adds 100 armor points.

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Engineer> Kaylee] That’s Alliance Faction only, Cap’n! Lovable Libertarian Space Pirate Faction can’t use it.

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Captain> Mal] Fine. Here. Open your inventory, take my Leather Duster IV. I’ll rely on Zoe’s Take the Bullet buff.

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<First Officer> Zoe] I would die for you, sir.

[Party Chat] [<Pilot> Wash] Zoe, can we talk in Marriage Chat please?

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Captain> Mal] Alright. We Stealth and use the crates and cows for cover. When the cargo bay door pops, we left click on the Reavers and wait until they come within range of Inara’s Situational Discomfort. But everyone stay within 15 feet of me, or you lose my leadership buffs. And most importantly, —

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Sexy Superheroine> River] LEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEROY JEEEEEEEEEENNNNNNNNNNKINS!!!!!!!!!!!

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Captain> Mal] Nooooo!

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Mercenary> Jayne] Wuh de ma!!!!

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Medic> Simon] There’s Reavers spawning everywhere! Don’t let them aggro!

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Engineer> Kaylee]Oh, Simon! Do me before we die!

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Medic> Simon] What’s the key for that?

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Shepherd> Book] I’m dead!

[Serenity Bridge] [<Pilot> Wash] I’m dead too!

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Companion> Inara] Well, you guys weren’t gonna survive the movie anyway.

[Serenity Cargo Bay] [<Captain> Mal] River! Gorram psychotic little — you ruined the raid!