Nick’s Blog

Rants

I’m an Evony Cheater

by Nick on Apr.09, 2010, under Rants

At least according to Evony I am. They sent me a little email a fews days ago (6 April 2010)

Account Action: Suspension

Reason for Action: Terms of Use Violation

Greetings,

After a thorough investigation, we have found that the account listed above violate the terms of use listed below:

Use cheats, automation software (bots), hacks, mods or any other unauthorized third-party software, databases or scripts designed to modify the Evony experience.

You may not perform any acts that we consider to be damaging to Evony. While we try to be as lenient as possible, and take in consideration many mitigating circumstances, the reoccurring offensive trends listed above have led to the suspension.

This Evony account has been suspended for 3 days by the Account Administration staff based on a review of the account and all related policy violations. Be aware that any additional inappropriate actions may result in the permanent closure of the account.

This action has been taken in accordance with the Terms of Use and our In-Game Policies.

Only the Account Administration department can address disputes or questions you may have about this account action. To learn more about how we are able to assist you, please email to escalation@evony.com.

Regards,

Account Administration

The Evony Team

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please do not respond to this email. Any email sent as a response to this message will not reach us. Should you have another question or would like to send us additional information, please contact us by emailing escalation@evony.com.

Well what surprised me was that this came shortly after I’d decided to give up on the game and had not logged in for several days. I had two cities and one of them was attacked and taken over. It had taken me so long to build the city that I figured that I really did not have enough time to build it again. But I did not want my attacker to then go on and reap the rewards of taking over my other city (or at least clearing it out) so I proceeded to hold a fire sale. I sold everything for next to nothing. I built a new city near by. Moved everyone into the new city and abandoned the old one. I then teleported my new city away and never logged in again.

A few days later I heard about their new game. It promised a better experience with no bullies. I was curious and created an account on their beta server. I played for a few minutes before realising it was just the same game with a fancy interface and some woman commentating on everything you do. Oh well done my Lord you really are turning out to be a super Evony customer. Realising that it was going to be every bit as dreary as the old game I abandoned that one too and then I received the mail saying I was a cheat and that my account was locked.

So I wrote back to Evony

Hello Account Administration,

Firstly which account listed above? You appear not to have listed any account in the mail. However given that you have sent the mail to this email address I guess you are either talking about the beta account or the live account.

Secondly I can categorically tell you that I have not used any cheats on either account (unless using Firefox counts as cheating). You might well be thinking that they all say that but well really this time it is true. To my knowledge I have not logged in since sometime last week when someone mounted an attack on one of my cities and I decided enough was enough and stopped playing. To be honest I’d already got bored of playing Evony as it seemed that to do anything required endless waiting around. But given that you are accusing me of cheating based on what must be false information (or the possibility that my account has been hacked) you might want to dig a little deeper in case you are falsely accusing other users who might actually give a damn.

Hang on a moment. I did try to flog off all my stock before destroying the city. The logic went like this. Someone clobbered my main city. I then thought they would probably attack my other city next and frankly did not want to give them the satisfaction of getting something for nothing. So I flogged everything for 0.0001 gold. To my surprise I seemed to earn an absolute fortune for doing so. That is not cheating, that is a bug in your sloppily written code. I then abandoned the city, gold and all, and relocated the other city out of reach of the attacker and then never logged in again.

Finally please feel entirely free to delete both accounts (beta and live) that are associated with this mail address and then remove me from all future mailing lists.

and got a standard out of office reply telling me to wait 5 days before complaining that they did not answer.

Dear Customer,

Thank you for contacting the Evony support center.  To better assist
you, we have forwarded your customer service request ticket to a
specialized department that handles issues which you are reporting.

We ask that you be patient while that department reviews and
investigates your customer service request ticket in detail.  As
reviews and investigations can take time for us to replicate your
issue, we might be making contact to you asking specific questions
regarding your ticket if the department feels it cannot replicate or
investigate an outcome based on your report request.

Please do let us know if you feel you have not after 5 business days
received a timely response and we will escalate the ticket
accordingly.

Thank you,
Evony Support

So I was not entirely filled with hope that the issue would ever be resolved and joined the community at bbs.evony.com and found that, far from being the only one claiming to have been falsely locked out, there seems to be large group of people all saying “Hey I’m innocent”. They all tell the same or similar story. Suddenly they are locked out and Evony refuse to enter into a discussion about it. I never spent money with them but there are players who claim to have done exactly that and then get barred. I really feel sorry for those people.

Well I’m still within the 5 days notice period. My account might be unlocked today but frankly I do not care. I just want to highlight my innocence and then get on with life in the real world. So if you are thinking of starting to play Evony please do a little research. It is a fun game initially but the threat of suspension is hanging over everyone. Here is section 8 of the TOC’s

REGAN MERCANTILE US, LLC MAY SUSPEND, TERMINATE, MODIFY, OR DELETE ACCOUNTS AT ANY TIME FOR ANY REASON OR FOR NO REASON, WITH OR WITHOUT NOTICE TO YOU

If you have also been accused of cheating then please feel free to drop me a comment and if you have your own blog I’d be happy to link to it. Please make sure your comments are accurate and not abusive otherwise they will not be posted.

If you are interested in a little more reading about the game here are a few links to get you started.

http://www.bruceongames.com/2009/08/25/evony-want-to-sue-me-for-telling-the-truth/

http://www.bruceongames.com/page/2/?s=evony

http://ezinearticles.com/?Evony—Game-Free-Forever&id=3720754

http://www.brighthub.com/video-games/mmo/articles/46094.aspx

http://www.articlesbase.com/computers-articles/evony-games-free-forever-1856785.html

http://www.funclub92.com/2010/04/evony-drops-libel-lawsuit-against-uk-blogger.html

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You know how it is.

by Nick on Mar.14, 2010, under Rants

You are brought up in a Christian school and told of the certainty of God, how he is looking out for us and how kind and good he is. You soon find that there are millions of people around the world that are starving and how the Church is doing good works to try to help these poor people. You might start to wonder why God does not help them but this is explained because God has given us free will. (continue reading…)

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Dark matter is like God

by Nick on Mar.10, 2010, under Rants

I am not sure this really counts as a rant because I am not in any way angry about it.  I was watching Horizon on the BBC last night. It was asking if everything we think we know about the universe is wrong. They had talked to a theoretical physicist (he looked real to me) and he was saying that the Universe is not behaving in the way that Newtonian physics predicts. So he and many other physicists had come up with the concept of dark matter. This is material that does not interact with the materials that we know and does not absorb, reflect, or scatter light. (continue reading…)

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My belief in evolution

by Nick on Jan.10, 2010, under Rants

You can call it a faith if you like because without proof you can only believe that something is true. However my belief is that we did indeed climb out of some kind of soup (no not looking like we do today) and evolved from there. What I do not believe is that around 5000 years ago some mystical figure created everything and has been watching our every move ever since.

Now I am prepared to admit that we have no real proof that this did not happen but equally we have no proof that evolution did not happen. However, today, I stumbled across a channel called the family channel. And showing on that channel was a programme aimed at debunking evolution and proving that the only realistic alternative was creationism.

At one point in the programme they pointed out some holes in evolution (I believe Darwin was responsible for making these observations and he left it to future generations to fill in the gaps). Amongst these were things like how statistically unlikely the first proteins were and how there are missing links in the fossil records. They then concluded that because of the lack of proof then it must all be false.

Well if they are going to use that argument then how about using it against their own beliefs. I mean lets face it, they have lack of proof written into the instruction manual. So if lack of proof is what it takes to debunk a theory then perhaps creationism is not true either.

At this point you might be wandering if I am agnostic or atheist. Well the problem is that I believe in scientific principle. And that means you come up with an idea and you work damn hard to prove it true. Atheism is a form of disorganised religion where you firmly believe there is no god. I firmly believe that there is no god and so I am an atheist. However that also makes me a poor scientist because without proof an atheist is simply a believer in nothing. So I am also prepared to allow for other possibilities such as God kick-started the whole life thing and it went from there, or we are all sitting in a giant computer simulation and the operator/designer of that simulation is what the religious people call God. I hold out no hope that these will be proven true and I will not be spending my time trying to get others to believe them. I am still firmly convinced that more and more evidence for evolution will be found and I am convinced that when that proof is found it will be dismissed as irrelevant by those that believe in a god.

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The insensitivity of the press

by Nick on Sep.27, 2009, under Rants

This is a blog that I forgot to post over a year ago. But reading it again I think I want to publish it now. I believe that Mr Polanski was under house arrest in Switzerland pending extradition but the extradition fell through due to some administrative cock-up.

As I read the following sentence I realised what kind of person it takes to write for the press. This was published by the BBC during the coverage of the Roman Polanski rape case and his arrest in Switzerland.

The victim at the centre of the case, S_______ G_____, has also asked for the charges to be dropped, saying the continued publication of details “causes harm to me, my husband and children”.

Only they had not replaced the bulk of the victims name with underscores. The name of the author of the article was withheld otherwise I suspect that I’d name him or her here. I mean just how insensitive can you be? I suppose we should be grateful that they did not publish her current home city but to actually go and publish the name in the same sentence where the victim is quoted as saying that doing so has caused her harm seems to show no respect.

We do not need to know her name, we probably do not need to know that she is married or has children (other than that this gives us the comfort to know that some rape victims do go on to lead a relatively normal life). More than 30 years ago she was raped and her name will forever remain linked to this case precisely because the reporters at the BBC cannot or choose not to hide her identity when reporting on the case.

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Compassion and the criminal

by Nick on Aug.25, 2009, under Rants

A few days ago they released the man convicted of the Lockerby bombing on compassionate grounds (he is dying of cancer). There have been howls of protest saying that this is wrong. In so many ways I agree, assuming his guilt, he is guilty of the worst terrorist act on UK soil. Most of the howls are coming from the US where the relatives live, of course this is a nation that would have executed this man which is my definition of inhumane especially as he is protesting his innocence and claims he will be able to clear his name. (continue reading…)

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Tickets for “Them Crooked Vultures”

by Nick on Aug.18, 2009, under Rants

It seems that they might have finally found a way to beat the scalpers. Of course the fact that it makes buying tickets almost impossible seems neither here nor there. You need to show up today at the venue, show photo ID, buy one ticket, get an arm band attached and then show up tomorrow with the same photo ID, arm band, and ticket for the gig. You cannot buy tickets for friends, you cannot get your ticket in any other way and it is not transferable. This is the price we have to pay to stop the menace that are the scalpers.

The band implementing this policy are called “Them Crooked Vultures” and are a three piece band comprising of members of Foo Fighters, Led Zeppelin, and Queens of the Stone age. I’ve only heard about 15 seconds of music from this “new” band and that sounded good (actually great) but not good enough for me to go through all that trouble. If anyone knows how it is possible to hear more from these guys I’d really like to know.

A brief footnote. Despite these measure I see that there are still firms out there trying to claim they can sell you a ticket to the show. Please for God’s sake do not waste your money, the only place you can get a real ticket is at the door tonight. If you cannot go yourself and collect that ticket then tough. Personally I do not think the promotion for the event makes this clear enough but they have tried.

Another footnote. A friend just told me that he had wanted to go to this gig but new nothing about it. The reason for this was of course the terrible secrecy. I only found out because the e-mail promoting it arrived with what looked like a WGS 84 map location and with me being into GIS I got curious. There was no name of the band in the mail and nothing on the site (just some cryptic number that is apparently what you need to type on a phone to get their name). Had the mail said “a new group comprising members of …” then perhaps I’d have also been interested and perhaps more people too. Well the friend told me that one of his colleagues had told him that they had been so successful at keeping it a secret that it had been a fairly poor turnout. I suspect also that a number of people thought (like me) that given the choice between turning up to Amsterdam on two successive nights on the off chance of getting tickets for a band whose total repertoire consists of 15 seconds, or sit in the Garden with your mates sipping beer, they would go for the beer thanks. I think in the current economic climate they would have been better trying to get airtime on the big radio stations and not trying to create such an air of mystery that nobody actually knows you are playing. However that said it does seem that the people who went had a great time and that is the most important thing.

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Death, religion, and a game of chance

by Nick on Aug.18, 2009, under Rants

Sadly my father in law recently died.  It was not unexpected but came more quickly than we had imagined. We had all hoped that he would be around a lot longer but mercifully his suffering was ended earlier than we expected.

In trying to explain to our five year old daughter what has happened we showed her a clip from Shrek 3 where the old king having been reverted to a frog is on his death bed. His family and friends are gathered round and then we see a touching ceremony where he is floated out onto the lake in a shoe box with a number of tearful on-lookers.

For my father in law the end came early in the morning in his hospital bed. And to us, as atheists, this is the end. We can celebrate his life, use his wisdom, and remember his kindness towards us. To various religions it is not the end but the beginning of another life.

I do not wish to say who is right or who is wrong. I do not want to belittle anyone for their beliefs or speculate what kind of person they must be for holding those beliefs. Next week our daughter will return to school, it is a Catholic school chosen by us least of all because of it’s religion. I am sure they will make mention of heaven and that is going to be the start of some confusion for our daughter.

The way I see it is that we cannot prove one way or the other about what happens after our death. I am confident I am right and that his suffering has ended. I believe that by most peoples standards, my father-in-law was a good man so assuming the religious people are right then he is in heaven. But nobody can really say. So how do I try to explain this difference in belief to a 5 year old girl.

Well firstly she is free to make up her own mind. Secondly I might compare it to a game of chance. We will pick a card out of a pack of cards and place it face down on the table. The two of us will call out what card we think it is and then ask our daughter to choose who is right. Until someone turns over the card we will not know who is right. If we return the card to the pack without ever looking who is right? It might have been me, it might have been my wife, it might have been neither of us, we will never know and it is pointless to throw accusations or speculate because we can never know.

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An American’s opinion of the Dutch

by Nick on Aug.09, 2009, under Rants

Warning, this is quite offensive and shows a level of arrogance that beggars belief. I was recently reading one of my favourite news sites for Dutch news, www.dutchnews.nl, and came across an article (here) talking about a You Tube video that was a response to a news report on American media channels. (continue reading…)

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New Glasses

by Nick on Aug.08, 2009, under Rants

Since the age of about 40 (some 4 years ago as I write) I’ve been finding that anything near to me is becoming a little blurry.  In other words I am long sighted. Initially this was a mild inconvenience but then I started to notice that the only way to read things was to hold them at a distance and now that distance is getting to the point where my arms are not quite long enough and the finer print is just a little too fine to read at that distance anyway. (continue reading…)

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