March 21st, 2005

Brad @ Burning Man

I Still Exist

I'm still alive, I know you were wondering. And it shouldn't surprise you that I've still been writing. However, it was writing that I knew would be of absolutely zero interest to most of you. What's more, there was another place to put that writing where it was needed much more.

In about 3 weeks, Neocron 2 will be having a major continent-wide roll-out and advertising campaign in Europe. In honor of this, I took some time and rewrote, in essence, the whole manual for Neocron 2. Whatever MMPORG I'm playing, I tend to write Beginners' Guides to; it's just a little thing that I do. I don't get paid for it, except in karma, but it does make me more popular not only with new players, but with the game companies, who reward me with inside information and more influence over in-game events. Besides, that's how I find out which parts of the game I only think that I understand, when I get corrected by other players. Nancy Lebovitz's Law: "The way to get information out of the Internet is not to ask questions. The way to get information out of the Internet is to post incorrect information."

In the unlikely event you care, or are jonesing that badly for a "fix" of my writing, here's the user's guide parts I've written so far:
  1. Picking Your Profession and Class
  2. Picking Your Faction
  3. How to Get the Really Good Weapons
  4. What Do the Various Weapons Do?
  5. Finding Hunting Areas (CONTAINS SPOILERS)
Not done yet: a guide to cybernetic implants, a guide to drugs, a guide to hacking, and a summary of the skills and subskills.

Also related to Neocron 2, I cranked out two related documents:
I had immense fun writing that first one, it's the sleaziest piece of propaganda I've ever cranked out. It's a textbook case of what really good propaganda is. There are no actual lies in there, there's nothing in there than an enemy could point to and say, "That's not true!" But while it is true that the Tsunami Syndicate is and was a "food service, beverage service, and entertainment company," what that really means is that they were gangsters who ran bars and strip clubs that were fronts for prostitution, gambling, and blackmail. While it is true that the investors of the Red Pepper Group live in Via Rosso and the Plaza, as soon as my character made his first million he bought himself an apartment in Via Rosso and moved out of the Park, too. While any money that gets raised will be used to build classrooms, clinics, and so on, those facilities will also be used as weapons and ammunition storage and places to retreat to during battles to take back Pepper Park. And as you might have guessed, those "suggested donations" are not always going to be entirely voluntary.

Those of you who know your mid-east politics will recognize parallels to Hezbollah. Those of you who know the history of Prohibition will additionally notice that I also borrowed a few ideas from Al Capone and from the New York Crime Commission, both of which organizations funneled some of their racketeering profits into neighborhood charity to make people less likely to rat them out. Those of you who know the history and have very strong opinions about who the good guys were and who the bad guys were may get a glimpse into why some people disagree with you. The people who play the game but don't know the history will some day run into that history and have a weird moment of deja vu, and it'll make the history more memorable to them. I love covert education. It's such a fun form of mind-fuck. I do this kind of thing whenever I'm gaming; ask my old Mage: The Ascension players.