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    Planes of Parody

    By Sam Smith

  • The Curse of "The Big Red Button"!

    There comes a time when the thrill of nerfing things isn't quite what it once was.

    Thus the nerfs get steadily bigger ("Let's revamp the Plane of Mischief!"), until they become rather sadistic. ("Let's make Ratmen a player race!")

    This continues until you take the logical step of blowing up the world.

    This actually happened.

    Not in the world of Norrath, but in another weapon in Sony's arsenal; Planetside. This was part of a soap opera plot in which the planet itself turned out to be a machine, and then decided to blow itself up, before running off and getting Jupiter's daughter pregnant.

    One imagines a Sony board meeting, with several suited figures sitting grimly around a table, sipping hot chocolate (the coffe got nerfed), with a trainee carefully trying to explain things to upper management:

    "Right. The problem with PlanetSide is; The players are too spread out, so there's hardly anyone in one place, and there is too much space with far too little unique content."

    This is greeted by blank stares, so our trainee tries again:
    "There's lots of space, with hardly anything in it."

    A corporate executive finally grasps this concept:
    "So, the space to content ratio is a large part of the problem?"
    "Yes! We need to add more-"

    But the trainee never finishes that sentence, because adding more content doesn't fit with The Vision [tm] ("Nerf it until it stops moving, then steal its wallet.")

    "Selling used planet in good part of the galaxy. Nice neighbourhood. Minor comet damage, otherwise mint condition."

    So, the corporate guys decide to simply solve the problem by removing the space. The "TurboNerfer2000" is prepared, (a device Absor "acquired" off some terrorists for use in emergency large scale nerfing during the Cold War) and Mr. Smedley gleefully cries "What space!", before launching into an evil cackle, and pushing a gigantic red button. (The evil cackle is available from the EverQuest Ringtone service for $6.99.)

    Then the PlanetSide world gets ripped to pieces in a series of gargantuan flashes, shakes and explosions (accompanied by enthusiastic tourists shouting "Ooooh", "Aaaaah" and "AAAAARG! IT BURNS!" -- again, these are immortalised by EQ Ringtones for only $6.99), and the planetary sitcom continues.

    Next week -- Mars proposes to Pluto.

    Satire aside, the PlanetSide event is actually the coolest thing I have ever heard of happening in a MMORPG. It has pushed the Sleeper event in EverQuest 1 off my list of coolest gaming moments ever, with jumping from the Plane of Sky and the Kael war floating into third and fourth.

    This is the kind of thing that should happen in games.

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