Wednesday, May 30, 2007

My EBay Nightmare

I've been chugging along, doing really well selling my old Commodore 64 and Vic 20 collections on eBay. My auctions end every Sunday, and this week I was the victim of a vicious attack by - well, by something I cannot comprehend.

A buyer named katsup123, registered back in April and with no feedback yet, was bidding on seven of my auctions. With no feedback, I'm a little wary, but I have to allow it - everyone has to get started on eBay somewhere. He or she ended up winning seven items with a grand total of over $400. Shortly after the auctions ended, I sent that person an invoice, and as soon as I returned to the main summary screen, the nightmare began.

The buyer katsup123 had marked all seven items as "payment sent", which buyers can do, even though in truth no payment has been made. The worst part was the seven nasty, distinct, negative feedbacks left for me, full of lies. Keep in mind that there has been no communication between myself and this buyer at all other than the invoice I sent, and that this negative feedback was posted immediately after the end of the auctions while I was putting together that invoice:


Shortly after leaving these negative feedbacks, katsup123 closed out his eBay account. It should be noted that I have an email address and a shipping address for this person, because my auctions require PayPal, although I must consider the possibility that both could be faked somehow.

None of these things he said are true. He has successfully wrecked my perfect feedback rating. He has cost me hundreds of dollars in lost sales, because he outbid my regular, dependable buyers. He has cost me in the fees I paid.

I contacted eBay immediately after this happened. First, I talked to someone on a live chat, who basically said to send it in through email. I am awaiting their judgment and mercy, which I was told could take up to a week. In the meantime, I have refrained from contacting this person myself nor from responding to his feedback or leaving my own for him. I want to hear from eBay first. I want them to delete the feedback and refund my fees.

This buyer also did this to one other seller, a person who sells, of all things, praying mantis eggs. He only did it to one of his auctions, though. I've been in contact with them in hope that together we can both urge eBay to correct this mess. This seller did not hesitate to respond to katsup123's negative feedback with a reply to the negative comment, and by leaving his own feedback for katsup123. katsup 123's feedback rating is now -1. If I leave seven negatives, it will be -2.

I cannot comprehend why someone would do this. Is this an act of adolescent cyber-vandalism? Is this some disgruntled person who could not bid on one of my previous auctions and has set up an elaborate revenge? All I know is that I am pissed off. Between this and the ruining of the movie Pirates of the Carribean : At World's End last Friday by four unsupervised teenage girls last Friday night, my ever-simmering hatred of humanity is at a level I haven't known in years.

So I await eBay's response. I was about two weeks away from finishing off the current batch of items I'm selling, but thanks to this jackass it's going to take up much of the summer.

Ultima Online Kingdom Reborn Beta Test

About a week ago, I got accepted into the closed beta test for Ultima Online : Kingdom Reborn, with a strong desire to help the game's makers test out the new client. Specifically, my own area of expertise with UO, which is ships and sailing. Tonight, the Non-Disclosure Agreement was lifted and I can talk about it.

Sadly, they made no improvements to this area. In fact, I think they simply copied the boat movement code from the standard 2D client and pasted it into Kingdom Reborn. I could literally do the same, cut and paste my old list of boat bugs from the last ten years into the KR bug reporting form.

They made the same mistakes that they made six years ago with their first attempt at a 3D client. The game runs painfully slowly, there are graphical glitches everywhere, the much trumpeted new UI is also frustratingly un-intuitive, and the new world map is like a rough sketch of the world offering no details and no functionality when sailing a ship.

It's still in beta, of course, so some improvements are surely expected. But it needs VAST improvement. Like another year's worth of development. So far, it's no better than the now defunct Third Dawn client, and actually runs with the kind of lag I've not seen since that client's early days. I'm going to stick around for awhile to see if it gets better, but I have serious doubt about that happening. It's a shame, it really is, that this is the best they can do - another major blunder and a tragic waste of resources in a ten year history of them.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Four New Old Games

Thanks to incredibly robust eBay sales of my Commodore items, I've gotten some extra spending cash to buy some new old games with. In other words, new to me, old to the market. And yes, I've decided to scratch that MMORPG itch I mentioned earlier:

Guild Wars : Factions : I decided to take the plunge with the second chapter of the Guild Wars games. Each expansion for Guild Wars is stand - alone, which means I can't access the first or third chapters unless I buy them seperately. I chose Factions because it seems to be group PvP oriented, and because it was ten dollars less than the most recent expansion, Nightfall.

So far, it's pretty standard newbie stuff. Levelling, newbie quests, trying out skills. It seems to have a steep learning curve, as most of the time I don't know what I'm doing and figure out important things I've missed only after wasting a lot of time. I am determined to ride this one out - max out my character, learn to play it right, and engage in PvP. So we'll see what develops in the later parts of the game.

Batallion Wars : This Nintendo Gamecube game seems pretty straightforward - it's an action - combat game where you control soldiers, going from mission to mission. I've only spent a few minutes with it, so I haven't got a real feel for it. It was ten dollars.

Star Trek : Encounters : This Playstation 2 game seems like a very hard Star Trek ship combat game. I played to the third or fourth mission before getting stuck. It, too, was only ten dollars.

XIII : Thirteen is a very cool and stylish first person shooter for the Gamecube that I've gotten a few levels into. I like it, but have yet to master the controls, and that's just because I'm lazy. It was only five dollars.

These four titles should keep me busy for the time being. And give me something new to blog about.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

This Is Why I Hate PC Gaming

So, I got to play Tron 2.0 for two days. It was actually really cool and fun. However, last night's session ended when, during the cinema scenes between two levels, the game locked up. Tonight, I progressed further into the game, and it happened again.

Tron 2.0 is a few years old, so when I went to its purported website, I got redirected to Disney's main site. After some digging, I found a patch for Tron 2.0 and downloaded it. When I tried to start the game again, it told me that I needed DirectX 9.0a and TnL. Like I know what the fuck that is. DirectX I've heard of, and I am pretty sure that I have it up to date. TnL, however, I've got no clue about.

After a few tries, I gave up, uninstalled Tron 2.0, and re-installed it without the patch, hoping to get to try again, resolving to put up with the game locking up every time I entered a cinema. No luck there either, as the game now crashes on startup every time.

I un-installed it and put it away. I should just throw it away. It seems PC games have a very narrow shelf-life, that being about six months after release. After that, only computer-saavy MIT graduates can get these damned games to run. Screw it all, then.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Playing Catch - Up

Both my job and my eBaying have kept me very busy lately, hence the lack of any updates. So, I'll just throw a few things out here real quick.

Wii Play : It's a bunch of small games, of varying novelty. Some are good, some are blah. At least it came with a Wii Remote. I like the table tennis and the tank game the most. The last level of the shooting gallery, the one with the flying saucers, is hilarious.

Super Paper Mario : I made a few additional attempts at the Pit of 100 Trials, or whatever it's called, and failed. I think I'm done with this game. Monique is still playing it, though, and having fun. It's fun watching her struggle with some of the craziness that I have already endured with that game.

The Legend of Zelda : Twilight Princess : I am at the Twilight Palace, or whatever it's called, facing off against Zant. I haven't beat him yet. He seems to be taking me on a multi-battle tour of my previous boss encounter arenas. I am loathe to end this game in fear of there being nothing else I want to play on the Wii right now.

Tron 2.0 : This is a PC game that came out a few years ago, and I later picked up at a bargain price. I only played it a little bit the first time I had it installed. I decided to re-install it and am having some fun with it. It's got a very complex system of menus but the graphics are amazing. Plus, it's Tron. What else do you need to know?

Spider-Man 3 : Not the game, the movie. A huge disappointment, overall. The action was great, but the flaws with the characters and story drag it all down. At least Pirates of the Carribean 3 is only a few weeks away. Plus, Harry Potter 5. It's gonna be a good summer for movies, eventually.

eBay : My selloff of Commodore 64 and Vic 20 games continues, with surprisingly good results. I'm also breaking my heart by selling my Electronic Games magazines from the early 1980s. Life goes on.

Phoenix Wright : Justice for All : I've been on break from this game for awhile, too. However, I recently read that Capcom has another one coming in September, called Phoenix Wright : Trials and Tribulations. So the clock is ticking, once again.

That MMORPG Itch: I'm getting the itch for a MMORPG, forgetting the lessons of the past. First, most of them suck. Two, I have a hard time making friends in these games, due to various things - I'm a casual gamer, I still carry trust issues from having endured the early days of Ultima Online, and I like to roleplay just a little to add to my own immersiveness.

Pirates of the Burning Sea, the Holy Grail of my own personal MMORPG quest dating back nine years, looks to be delayed yet again from its previously - stated June launch date. I've been thinking about trying out Guild Wars, or returning to City of Heroes / Villains. I've even volunteered for the Ultima Online Kingdom Reborn beta, having a ship / sailing test itinerary that I'm sure surpasses anyone else's.

Like I said, I've forgotten the lessons of the past. I also feel guilty about not continuing with my Milestones series (see this blog's archives). I had a new entry all written up but blogger ate it. Really. Look for the next entry once I gather the courage to write it all again. That, and when I find the time.