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June 1999

Culture Clash
Before we start everyone, we really should make one little point clear. I'm not going to use this to take shots at certain groups or things like that. I will do my utmost to ensure I don't begin stereotyping when I'm writing this essay, but who doesn't get carried away on an issue they feel strongly about?

In no instance can we point the finger at a certain type of player. Sure, some players do have advantages over others, but it’s a game, and like all games there will be those who are not necessarily better, but just have an advantage

Advantage Number 1- Free Local Calls vs. High Phone Bills
Some players are on very uneven footing when it comes to this. Certain countries/areas have free local calls and can afford to spend all day playing UO. If we look at any sort of player-written guide, we can see they usually say "spend a day doing this". To the lucky few, "spending all day" doing something isn't that much of a problem when it comes to UO as they have paid their $9.95 and are now free of all other charges in UO. Unfortunately, however, many players have to pay for local calls and very simply, can not afford o spend long periods of time playing a game. The phonebills go up and people get carried away, then one day a bill comes through the door and WHAM! That player soon realises how much this game is costing them. Ingame, this is also a serious disadvantage. I have been on Europa since it went live back in October and have been practising my magery ever since. Other players however, who have free local calls, spend long periods of time raising their stats and skills, so very soon they can are more than a match for someone who pays phonebills who has played on that server much longer than they have, and if it comes down to PvP, the unlucky player is normally done for once he realises that his opponent has free local calls and has spent a few days building up his char. Sure, if I had free local calls I would spend ages in UO, and have my STR raised up a lot after a day or so of playing. In my entire time in UO, my STR has raised 10 points. I just simply can't afford to spend large sums of money on what is, all in all, just a game (Don't email me about that, despite the great community feeling in UO, it is only a game, although I would go crazy if my account was hacked). To sum that up problem up, people with free local calls have a severe advantage over people without that luxury.

Solution- Launch a Protest
A possible solution would be for OSI to make stats and skills easier to raise for those who don't have free calls. This way, we don't have to spend lots of REAL money building up our char. This would, of course, be open to exploitation by those who would be willing to spend large amounts of money building up their char, and they then would have a bigger advantage over those with free locals calls than those with FLC ever had over them, so forget that idea.

Alternatively, we could protest to our telephone companies about it and see what happens. Luckily for the UK, a flat rate charge is inevitable for BT as the likes of Localtel and Cable&Wireless are offering it soon, so BT will be forced to follow suit quickly or lose customers. FYI, thousands of people intend not to use their ISP's in Europe on June 6th in protest of the high prices we face. I hope it works.

Finally, go out and buy a cable modem or something similar. They offer high-speed connections with no per minute charges and seem like the way to go. I'm waiting for BT to launch ADSL though. 30 a month for a 24 hour, 7 day a week connection that goes at 2mbps? Yes please Mr. BT.

Disadvantage Number 1- Parlez vous francais?
No harm to the French intended. Talk a walk around the bank on Europa or Drachenfels some time and take note of what you see. Anywhere from 1 to 5 languages on screen at once. On servers where French, English, German, Swedish, Greek, Spanish, Irish (just me really, I like blurting out Gaelic to confuse people) and Romanian are spoken, its hardly surprising that a language barrier exists between some people. I have many times being knocked out of conversations once the person I was speaking to turned to someone else and began speaking a different language. Admittedly, it can be annoying not having the ability to communicate with fellow players while in the game, and the built-in translation server once gave me "I run my own house", after a French man said "Want to buy an axe?" (Looks like it needs some serious work). Maybe it's just my problem, but I hate having the screen filled up with people shouting in a language I don't understand. I apologise now for anyone who takes offence at that, but if you didn't speak English, which I assume you can since you are reading this, you would hate having the screen filled with people shouting in what to you looked like jarble.

Solution- Learn to live with it
There is absolutely nothing you can do, so you had best get over it. Suppose UO was real, do you think everyone would speak the same language? No, of course not.

Alternatively, take a language course and learn to speak all the languages in the world! Well, maybe not. One or two would probably suffice. Or, you could be a role-player and use that as an excuse to say "I'm a bit deaf, speak up!" (Warning, by doing that you are very likely to lose favour with almost everyone).

Advantage Number 2- Co-ordinating attacks in a foreign language!
As most players speak English, try attacking them in something different. Picture this:

Some English speaking player comes along and begins talking to two people who are, say, French, and neither of them can speak English very well. After some amount of trying, they agree to go hunting and set off. Mr. English-Speaker is annoying the French players and so they begin chatting in their own language, as follows:

[Translation] French No.1: He is really annoying me

French No.2 Lets kill him! He won't even know what hit him!

Annoying man: What you two saying to each other!

French No.1: Corp Por

French No.2: Corp Por

Annoying man: [Death cry]

So ended the life of the annoying man who didn't know what was going on because he didn't speak their language.

Solution- Run away!
If you are out in the forest and your "co-hunters" begin talking in a foreign language and refuse to say what is going on, run away or do the smart thing and hit them first! (Note: The first option is probably best)

But communities thrive anyway!

'Tis true. Some people can't get along together due to some silly thing or another, but the town of Deepwater on Europa thrives and it's citizens come from all over the world. True, many of the countries that these people come from have been at war, but they don't care and neither do I! Much to my surprise, I have many British friends, despite the fact I'm Irish (and I'm actually in ClanUK), and I see the likes of Americans blending together with Germans, despite their bad history together.

So, all in all, UO mainly casts away the old barriers that have faced our cultures, and indeed, if you met some of these people in real-life, you may not have liked them, but now we all mix with people from across the globe every day and we all come together to from what is surely one of the most fun groups on this planet. I believe I have succeeded in not annoying anyone with this essay and I look forward to writing my next one!

Posted on Tuesday, June 22, 1999, 2:55 AM EDT by Damarr (Editorials)