Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fatal's Fiesta Facts - Round One RESULTS!

Round One is in the books and what a great turn out!  I'm sure that a lot more showed up and gave up once they saw the questions weren't stuff like, "Which class uses a Mace?" durrrr......

But anyway, before I announce the winners, there was a bit of a mixup with question #17.  The question asked which pack had the higher crit rate, Angel or Devil?  After researching further, I found out that the item description on the Devil pack is actually incorrect.  Both packs have identical crit bonuses.  Since the error was mine (and OutSpark's... GRRRRRR!), I will accept both A and C as correct answers.  If you answered B or D, those would be considered wrong.

I honestly thought that there would be a ton of perfect responses (even considering the error noted above), but I guess the difficulty of the questions were about right.  Not too easy, and not too hard if you bothered to do some running around.

Considering four points for each question, there were a total of five perfect scores of 100, four scores of 96, and three scores of 92.  Three submissions had three or more wrong.  The average score was 91.7%.  Maybe it was too easy?  ^. ~

So now onto the winners!

The grand prize winner is:  heddie
The runner ups in order of submission:  Lukasz_Lucky, quiqui, darksigner45, and DemonBlitzKragor.

Winners, please contact me via Forum PM, send me a message from your winning SparkID.  I have redemption codes to give you that you can apply to your account.  Thanks!

If you were curious how you did, here are the answers:

1.  C - There are a total of 3 sharks, the one pictured, and two in the marketplace.
2.  D - Seahorse
3.  C - Twenty-six (10 available in Basic, 16 more from Premium.. I said TOTAL)
4.  A - D2, this is located just behind Grandpa Robin
5.  B - Ghost License is not available from Bran
6.  C - Water.  This fountain thing is located just behind Nina.
7.  B - D9, this is located just to the left of the Elderine/Forest Of Mist gate.
8.  C - Karls.
9.  A - Kenton's pants are green.
10.  C - 190 silver.
11.  D - You can purchase this from Cyburn.  It used to be purchasable from Vellon, but that changed.
12.  C - T5 Alchemy Stones cost 250 fame.
13.  A - The fighter on the left is Reno.  The girl behind the fire is me!
14.  B - Geranium.  Uruga Herbs drop Ramsear, Basil, Salvia, and Marigold.
15.  C - This costume is the "Good Morning".
16.  B - The Tough Cookie Pack is 4985sc
17.  A or C - See response above.
18.  D - The Joker Costume is what's pictured.
19.  B - Devastate is first acquired by Fighters at level 43.
20.  D - Nature's Mist is first acquired by Archers at level 51.
21.  A - A Mage's Stifle skill is not acquired until level 73.
22.  C - The Great Set (level 85) does not have an Endure boost.  Life and Firm require 3 pcs, Safe requires 2.
23.  B - Soul Trap is first aquired by Tricksters at level 75.
24.  B - GM_Kobal updates the In Development Page
25.  D - Love and Joy was the top vote getter.

Fatal's Fiesta Facts - Round One OVER

Round One complete!  No more submissions as of 6:30pm PST.  Winner's list forthcoming.  Thanks for participating!

4 Years of Fiesta Event: Fatal's Fiesta Facts!


Hmm... so you think you know Isya huh?  Know it like the back of your hand?  Well we'll see!  Get your web surfing skills and your ultra fast in-game Mount ready, you're gonna need it!

Please answer all 25 questions before submitting them as comments on this thread.  Comments will be hidden until I approve them.  I will not start approving comments until all the winners have been determined.  Comments are uneditable by me and kept in chronological order according to time of submission.  Only submit ONE entry per SparkID.  Multiple entries will disqualify you, so please double and triple check your work before you submit.  Questions will be multiple choice.  There is only one correct answer for each question.

Warning:  My Blog uses Captcha verification for comments so if you are trying to enter this event via smartphone or any other device that blocks Captcha images, you will not be able to participate.



So you think you know Roumen?

1.  Everyone knows this famous hanging shark landmark right?  But is that the only shark in Roumen?  How many total, including this one, hanging sharks are in Roumen?
  • A:  One
  • B:  Two
  • C:  Three
  • D:  Four

2.  Ever look up in Roumen and notice the two giant clocks?  Too bad they don't actually reflect server time... but have you noticed what creature is used to support those clocks?
  • A:  Shark
  • B:  Turtle
  • C:  Eagle
  • D:  Seahorse

3.  Everybody loves getting makeovers right?  Vietree gives us so many color and style combinations!  So tell me, if I had a PREMIUM Beauty Shop Coupon, how many total hair color choices do I have?
  • A:  Ten
  • B:  Sixteen
  • C:  Twenty-Six
  • D:  Thirty-Six

4.  Find me!  On which map grid was the screenshot above taken?
  • A:  D-2
  • B:  D-6
  • C:  E-6
  • D:  E-1
So you think you know Elderine?

5.  Weapon Title Merchant Bran sells three different licenses.  Which of these does he not sell?
  • A:  Bat
  • B:  Ghost
  • C:  Zombie
  • D:  Spider

6.   Attention to detail.. Ever notice what's in there?  Tell me what this Cleric happens to be looking at.
  • A:  Plants
  • B:  Rocks
  • C:  Water
  • D:  Nothing

7.  Find me!  On which map grid was the screenshot above taken?
  • A:  C-4
  • B:  D-9
  • C:  J-9
  • D:  I-2

8.  Oh no!  Put to work!  Whose shop is this Cleric in?
  • A:  Kenton
  • B:  James
  • C:  Karls
  • D:  Marty

9.  Item Merchant Kenton - This picture is black and white, but what color are Kenton's pants in-game?
  • A:  Green
  • B:  Red
  • C:  Purple
  • D:  Pink

So you think you know Uruga?

10.  Recipes of all sorts are available here.  How much could you buy a Xir[4] recipe for from the NPC?
  • A:  1 Gold
  • B:  300 Silver
  • C:  190 Silver
  • D:  85 Silver

11.  Which NPC residing in Uruga sells the Xir[4] recipe?
  • A:  Vellon
  • B:  Lump
  • C:  Tim
  • D:  Cyburn

12.  Uruga is the only place you can purchase T5 Alchemy Stones.  How much fame would a stack cost you?
  • A:  150
  • B:  200
  • C:  250
  • D:  300

13.  Which of the characters above is named Reno?
  • A
  • B
  • C
  • D

14.  Uruga's a great place for farming Herbs.  Which of the following Herbs cannot be farmed in Uruga?
  • A:  Marigold
  • B:  Geranium
  • C:  Ramsear
  • D:  Basil
So you think you know the Cash Shop?

15.  My fighter is wearing a costume from the Fiesta Store, what is the name of this costume?
  • A:  Wonderland
  • B:  Silky Maid
  • C:  Good Morning
  • D:  Pretty in Pink

16.  The Tough Cookie Pack is awfully popular isn't it?  What is the regular non-sale SparkCash price on it?
  • A: 3445sc
  • B: 4895sc
  • C: 5125sc
  • D: 5275sc

17.  The Angel and Demon Bundles are the same price, but which Bundle has the higher total critical bonus?
  • A:  Angel Bundle has a higher critical rate.
  • B:  Demon Bundle has a higher critical rate.
  • C:  Neither, the critical rate is the same.
  • D:  This is a wrong answer, but I'm choosing it anyway!

18.  What is the name of the costume pictured above?
  • A:  Lunar Radiance
  • B:  Jester Costume
  • C:  Orchid Blossom
  • D:  Joker Costume
Think you know your classes?

19.  A Fighter's Devastate skill is probably the most anticipated skill for the aspiring Fighter.  At which milestone level does this skill become available?

  • A:  36
  • B:  43
  • C:  46
  • D:  51
20.  Like a Fighter's Devastate, Archers enjoy their own "signature" skill, Nature's Mist.  At what level does Nature's Mist become available to the Archer class?
  • A:  36
  • B:  43
  • C:  46
  • D:  51
21.  When a Mage hits 60, she gets three new highly useful skills.  Which of the following skills is NOT acquired at 60?
  • A:  Stifle
  • B:  Drain Mind
  • C:  Frost Nova
  • D:  Chain Cast
22.  "Buff Please!"  We all love buffs, we also love when Cleric use set armors that raise Endure's HP/SP Boost.  Which of these sets do NOT have an effect on Endure?
  • A:  Life Set
  • B:  Firmament Set
  • C:  Great Set
  • D:  Safe Set
23.  *Scritch-Scratch* Love em or hate em, the Tricksters are here to stay.  At which level do Tricksters receive the table-turning Soul Trap skill that freezes their opponent in a block of ice?
  • A:  60
  • B:  75
  • C:  80
  • D:  100
So you think you know what's coming?

24.  Which GM is in charge of updating the In Development webpage?
  • A:  GM_Wishbone
  • B:  GM_Kobal
  • C:  GM_Lightburb
  • D:  GM_Velfarre
25.  We recently voted on new dances to be added to Fiesta, which dance got the most votes?
  • A:  Caramelldansen
  • B:  Single Ladies
  • C:  Stay Away
  • D:  Love and Joy

Remember:  Only one submission per SparkID.  If you send in multiple entries with different answers, you will be disqualified.  Best of luck to all!

Don't forget to check back next week for Round 2!

    Three Hours and Counting...

    Hey guys, just three more hours until my blog event gets started!

    A couple of quick pointers:

    • It is advised that you are logged into Fiesta.  Some of the questions deal with minutiae that are not considered general knowledge.
    • Some of the questions have handy links embedded in them, be sure to open those links in a separate tab or separate window as your previously entered answers may be erased if you load the new page on the same tab/window.
    I probably won't be online during the event, but the Event is set to auto-post at the correct time, 2pm PST.  When I'm available, I"ll go through all the comments/submissions and post the winners.  Please be sure to leave your SparkID along with your answers!

    Prizes and Rewards

    1st place (1): Fatal's Dark Makeover Pack (30 day)
    - Red Tuxedo/Dress (5% Critical)
    - Demon Horns (5% Critical)
    - Wings of Darkness (7% Critical)
    - Beauty Shop (Premium)

    Runner-up Prizes (4):
    Yellow Dragon Costume (30 Day)

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    Event Preview: The Road to Enlightenment (Pt. 1)

    So there I was, just a normal day.  Nothing pressing on the agenda, the Orc uprising had been surpressed, those Greenkies stopped stealing underwear off of Roumen clotheslines, and the price of Xir continues to rise according to the news report.  And then my day got a bit interesting....  THWACK!

    Startled at the noise, I grabbed my Staff and headed out the door, I didn't see anything the matter out there.  I figured it was just those 2x Abyss Noobs pranking again then running back into the Abyss to hide.  As I turned around to head back into my home, I noticed a note stuck on my door with an arrow through it.  Bonus points for style, but geez, my mailbox is right there! 

    Miffed at the button-sized hole in my custom Giant Elven Tree door, I ripped the note off the door and read it.
    We have an urgent matter that requires your attention.  The 4 Years of Fiesta celebration is upon us.  We need your help in educating players about some little known facts about our world.

    See me immediately for more details.

    It seems I get approached for one of these projects every year by Shutian and the Order of the Sworn Knights of Isya, the OSKI.  But, as a proud citizen of Isya, I always do what I can!  These OSKI guys can be a handful to work with, demanding time lines, flow charts, blood samples...


    So anyway, off I went to meet up with Shutian.  When I got there, he looked grim.  Or like he needed fiber.  Oh nevermind, that's just how he always looks.  He asked me to follow him somewhere quiet where we could discuss this.  Knowing his resistance to magic, I bought a Mace from a nearby vendor just in case.  Hey, the guy stands there all day while girls dance suggestively around him... then suddenly he asks me to walk off with him?  You'd take some protection too!

    We made our way behind the Free Battle Zone 2 entrance.  Shutian ordered the guard there to leave, muttering something about, "nobody goes in there anyway."  Still a little uneasy, I kept my distance.  Then with those deep set eyes that looks right down into your soul, Shutian told me, "I'M SO SICK OF NOOBS!  All day long they stand in Elderine shouting for this, shouting for that.  Too lazy to venture out and discover the world on their own!  We must educate them."  I nodded and gave him my best determined stare  =. = 

    "After consulting the OSKI, we have chosen you to educate these newbies into fine, capable citizens of Isya.  We will allow you to reward the best of your students with a complete makeover!  Hmm, that dress you have on is nice, we'll add that in!"

    Before I could object, he dismissed me with a wave of his gauntleted hand.  Geez, I'm all for incentive-based learning, but do I really want other people to look like me?  My fashionable inner child kicked me.

    With this new quest in hand, I decided that I'd best get some counsel on this before I start.  There was only one person I knew I had to see, but that journey was a long and perilous one.

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    Civil War Journal: The Gauntlet is Thrown

    07 Sept 2011
    Dear Momma,
    The summer's been sweltering.  Training has been harder than I could imagine and I've been so tired that I haven't had the strength to write.  I know you're worried about me, but I'm doing okay.  The living conditions aren't great, but we get three meals a day provided we're able to hunt down our own food.  I never thought I'd get used to the taste of Ratman, but after a while, it grows on you.

    08 Sept 2011
    Dear Momma,
    Some good news, I've been promoted to lead the Red Team.  Recruiting's been hard, but having our family name out there definitely helps.  I've been venturing out alone to try and hunt some gear down for my troops, but that's proving difficult too.  Dungeons are always scary places when you enter them alone.  I really hope to get us well geared before the Blues and Greens start coming.

    Dad always said I'd be a good leader.  I intend to prove him right.  Wish me luck.

    09 Sept 2011
    Dear Momma,
    I was hesitant to tell you this, but our intelligence team uncovered some pretty disturbing news.  Apparently the Blue Team has hired an assassin to threaten our family.  I just figured I'd warn you and Dad to be on the lookout.  This "FatalLaceKiller" is said to be dressed as a Cleric, so just be careful as you wander through town and stuff.  Clerics are usually nice, that's probably what makes this one so dangerous.
    P.S.  Hide the cat.  Thanks.

    12 Sept 2011
    Dear Momma,
    We got our marching orders today.  We knew about this for a few days now, but it was classified info so I couldn't tell you.  We executed a covert attack on the Blue Team operatives today in Elderine.  It was a small 2 on 2 skirmish, but we prevailed.  Scary thing is though, that through propoganda, the Blue Team seems to have swayed the public's feelings towards them.  During the war, they started recruiting into their academy.  I fear a retalitory strike is imminent and their number will dwarf ours.

    Pray for us.  We know we're in the right.

    Thursday, September 8, 2011

    Bijou's Civil War - Red Team Recruitment!

    --- >  SIGN UP HERE:  Red Team Recruitment Thread  <---

    Greetings Adventurers! War is upon us, but this time, the conflict is from within.

    A series of skirmishes is set to take place starting Saturday September 17, 2011. There will be four battles daily between three guilds: Red, Blue, and Green.

    The Blue and Green teams are scrambling to round up fierce combatants to take us down! We must prepare for this assault! The Blue team is led by ChaseNetwork, the Green Team by OMG_ITS_JEMMY.

    Level Limits: 20-34.
    SparkCash: None allowed (See original post HERE)

    I'm still looking for able-bodied, reliable Admins to serve with me and wage war at the designated times since I will be unable to attend all scheduled battles.

    Again, these series of wars are just for fun, it's meant to be non-competitive. Hopefully, it's something everyone can participate in when they have some free time on Saturdays.

    If you would like to participate or volunteer for an admin position, please let me know ASAP. I have a small cache of gear available, nothing great, just stuff I farmed out of Marlone Hideout. First come first served on that.

    Red Team
    LegendaryFatal (GM)

    If any of you plan to use a beauty shop coupon for this, I HIGHLY encourage you to use RED HAIR. If not, that's okay too. =)

    Weekly Event: Bijou's Civil War

    Strife has befallen our beloved Bijou, in a time of great despair and hardships, the battlelines have been drawn and sides have been chosen. With whom will your allegiances lie?

    Be prepared Bijou, the curtain of war rises on Saturday September 17th, 2011.

    Event Summary
    This will be a planned 3-way guild war between 3 teams: Red Team, Blue Team, and Green Team. The level limits for participation are from level 20-34. Wars will be held on Saturdays at the posted times.

    Guildwar Rules
    3 Teams: Red, Blue, Green
    Wars will occur every Saturday at 2:00am, 8:00am, 2:00pm, and 8:00pm (OS/Forum time).
    Future mutually agreed upon war times can be discussed.
    Red will war Blue, Blue will war Green, Green will war Red.
    Fighting will only occur within the confines of Elderine and OX Field.
    Spawn killing is allowed.
    Shop killing is allowed.

    Player Participation
    Anybody can participate as long as they meet these criteria:

    Minimum Level 20
    Maximum Level 34
    (This excludes level 36 perms and overpowered level 35 sets)

    No SparkCash items, no Marriage.
    Exceptions: Vault Items approved, Mounts approved, 'Appearance Costumes' approved, Beauty Shop approved
    Enhanced Gear / Weapons - Approved.
    +1 Pets - Approved.
    Purple Pots (Str/Def/Dex) - Not Approved
    Rama Potions - Not Approved
    Guild Tourney Items - Not Approved
    Purple Weapons/Shields (Halloween) - Not Approved

    I highly encourage those of you in existing guilds to split up amongst the three teams.
    All players from all servers are welcome and encouraged to participate!

    Should any player be found circumventing the rules, they will be banned.
    Any player over level 34 will immediately be banned.
    Any player excessively taunting will be banned.
    What you do from Monday-Friday, I could care less, but be prideful, be a respected, honorable member of Bijou's society.

    Volunteers Needed
    I will directly oversee the Red team and the event itself.
    I need two others to oversee the formation of the Blue and Green teams.
    The GMs do not need to be online for every war so long as there is an Admin present and able to declare war.

    If you would like to be a combatant or know of people that would like to participate, please have them join each respective team's academy for now until an admin is online to add them.
    We can arrange to be online at the same time, send me a forum PM if you are unable to locate another admin.
    I will carry admin status on each team so I can add players, however, I will only participate actively on the Red team.

    While I do realize that this may affect the market of the 2x-3x players, I apologize. For many of us, there is just little to do and I was hoping this would be a way to bring the server a bit closer together and forge new friendships through any level range. Use this opportunity to network and meet new people.
    The general rules as stated above are subject to change at any time.

    Community Cooperation
    I do ask the community's help in participating and getting the word out about this weekly event. I also ask that you be courteous with each other and that you respect each other's rights to have fun. I know Bijou can be full of poor sports and killjoys, please don't be one of them that encroaches on others. Let's be a model server in that respect.

    This event is purely for fun. Please don't take the competition and your resulting deaths or kills too seriously. If we can't play nice, we'll have to discontinue the event.

    Thank you.

    (( Guild Numbers are 7712, 7713, 7714))
    Varies by guild you're in.


    Q: Fatal, why is spawn killing and shop killing allowable?
    A: Simply because if you know ahead of time what the rules are, you shouldn't complain when it happens to you. I don't want to have to overly police this type of event, so for the most part, anything goes. If you find yourself getting ganged at the spawn point, wait to respawn until your guild can help you out. Call for help, it's why you're in a guild.

    Q: Are there any prizes?
    A: Unfortunately, no. Prizes would be impossible to determine in a full scale event like this. And I'm broke anyway, damn T5 Bogo.... *grumble*

    Q: I'm from another server, can I join?
    A: Absolutely, I want you to! The requirements are only to get to level 20 which can be accomplished even soloing within a few hours. From the time of this posting, you have over two weeks to get started and geared.

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Hide Vs. Detect - My Take

    There's been some rumblings on the forums in recent weeks in regards to the Ranger's Hide skill.  Some believe it needs a complete revamping, others think it needs some tweaks, while others think that it's just fine as is.  On the flipside, almost everyone with any type of sense knows that a SharpShooter's Detect is essentially useless in combating/preventing a Ranger's Hide.

    So what are my thoughts?  How would I change the two skills?  Read along:

    Hide (currently):
    Hide is a Ranger-only skill that is acquired at level 100.  It does not have any upgrades currently.  The skill allows the Ranger to become invisible and roam around freely. 

    Hide has somewhere between a 30-50% failure rate, meaning you cast the skill, and nothing happens.  This is currently the only "missable" buff in Fiesta.  The cooldown of the skill has a base of 1 minute, empowerable down to a pretty quick 42 seconds.  I guess that's not so quick when you're running for your life though... Hide can be casted while running.

    In addition to Hide's high rate of failure, it can also be dispelled by any AOE attack near the Ranger.  In a PvP situation, the use of any AOE near that Ranger is highly hazardous.  Even with a high evasion, a miss triggers the removal of the skill and the uncovering of the Ranger.  If the Ranger is targeted prior to casting Hide, he can still be followed by the opponent.  Marriage Hearts as well as the AutoPick glow from Pets can also give away a Ranger's location.

    The Ranger is unable to cast any skills, attack, pick up any items, or summon their mounts until they cancel their Hide.  Their movement speed is unchanged, they move at their current running speed plus any speed scrolls they may have active.

    Whether intentional or not, when casting Hide, the Ranger's evasion increases tremendously.

    Detect (currently):
    Detect is a SharpShooter-only skill that is acquired at level 100.  It also does not have any current upgrades.
    Detect is an AOE-type skill that produces a targeting reticle the same circumference as the other Archer AOEs.  If the hidden Ranger is within this targeting reticle, after the skill is activated, the Ranger will be uncovered.  The cooldown of Detect is 30 seconds, I don't know what the fully empowered CD would be as, at this point, it would be moronic to empower it unless you have some sort of emotional attachment to its pretty animation.  It's pretty safe to guess that the fully empowered CD would bring it down to 21 seconds, but again, who cares.  Detect, as is, is the single most useless skill in the game.

    Hide (Fatal's Version):
    My apologies as this is not 100% my own thinking as many great minds have shared similar thoughts, but I think I've added some twists that not everyone has mentioned.

    Hide[1] - Level 100 Ranger.  Keep the same CD time and Duration.  Increase success rate of skill to 100%.  Damage does not uncover the Ranger, but based on Evasion, he can still be hit by AOEs.  DOTs will also stick to the Ranger, with only Bleed showing a resulting graphic.  Hide can only be completely taken down by a SharpShooter's Detect skill, or those Totem-type mobs/object in Thorn Cave.  The increase in Evasion currently enjoyed by Rangers when they cast Hide would be kept and factored in.

    Hide[2] - Level 110 Ranger.  This is a group AOE, buff-type skill.  The Ranger will be allowed to Hide all members of his party within the same target reticle distance with the Ranger as shown in the image above.  With that image in mind, all three Mages would also be invisible, but the Cleric who stands outside the circle, is not.  This is a one-time cast skill that continues to hide your party until the Ranger removes it, someone within the Hide casts a skill, or is Detected by a SharpShooter.  Any party member who wanders outside the range of the skill would become visible.  No skills can be cast while under the "blanket".    If they re-enter the circle, they become hidden once again.  Same rules for damage/uncovering apply as Hide[1].  The skill would employ a 4 minute Cooldown period and a 2 minute Duration, both can be empowered.

    Detect (Fatal's Version):
    I had proposed this before in one of three ways:

    Detect - Version A:  Detect would change into a skill that radiates out from the SharpShooter, uncovering any Ranger within a 13m radius.  This eliminates the need to have to aim the skill and just guess at where the Ranger is hiding, which is pretty pointless now with such a long CD.  In this version, CD would be reduced to 6 seconds, matching the unempowered base CD of Piercing Shot and Nature's Mist.

    Detect - Version B:  In this scenario, Detect will become a buff skill.  As a buff skill, it can be re-cast at anytime like a Cleric's buffs, but it will not translate into a party-buff like Nature's Aim, meaning the buff only affects the SharpShooter even if partied.  When Detect is active, the SharpShooter is able to see any Ranger on any map, not just in PvP situations.  The Ranger can be seen in the same fashion that they are visible to themselves, that clear, LabGhost-type visual, the same that you see in Guild Tournament.  The SharpShooter is the only class able to see, actively target and attack a Ranger in Hide.

    Detect - Version C:  Similar to above, but it becomes a passive skill.  SharpShooters would be able to see Rangers at any time, on any map, without the use of casting a buff.

    Now how would these two proposed changes work in conjunction with each other?  If the passive version of Detect is adopted, the SharpShooter should still have a skill that allows them to completely negate the Ranger's Hide and remove it in PvP situations.  On a normal map, the SharpShooter is only able to see the hidden Rangers and not actively remove their buff.  So perhaps a passive plus the current version of Detect with modifications to the Cooldown?

    Saturday, September 3, 2011

    Gifting - Sometimes Just Too Good to be True

    Gifting has always been a touchy subject amongst the playerbase, with gifters and giftees testing their luck against the Terms of Service (TOS).

    Me, personally, I don't use gifters.  Although my real-life checkbook wishes I would, I just can't, and won't do it.  We're all well aware that gifting-for-gold is a violation of the TOS, but yet it happens daily.  I'd be willing to bet that a small number, maybe 15% of the SparkCash buying playerbase funds 80% of the level 100+ players.  As sad, and maybe appalling, as that number sounds, it's with good reason.

    Fiesta is a free-to-play game, but it's also a pay-to-win game too.  The higher you progress, the more you have to spend to keep up with everyone else, it's a sad truth.  In order to make money, you have to spend money, whether that be in-game gold or real life dollars, that's reality.

    Knowing this, and the competitive and materialistic side to all of us, scammers will constantly prey on our wants and needs by offering to sell us giftable items from the cash shop for in-game funds.  Since such dealings are a violation of the TOS, there is no clean way for the transaction to occur.  Either the gifter gifts first and risks getting scammed out of his SparkCash, or the buyer pays first and risks getting scammed out of his gold.  Both transactions are perilous.

    These leads to another problem:  Charge Backs.  Working in retail, I have a pretty good knowledge of how charge backs work.  Basically a consumer receives their statement in the mail and sees a transaction that they believe is in error so they call the credit card company and dispute the charge.  The credit card company will immediately side with the consumer and place the charge back on the vendor.  It is then up to the vendor to furnish all proof that the transaction was legitimate.  However, when working with online transactions, the problem is far worse and the burden of proof is far more difficult to build.  Paypal works much the same way, they will side with the consumer.

    As you can see from above, the system is great when it's not being used fraudulently.  It is these abusers that lead to so much unnecessary grief on other players and extra work for the OutSpark team.  At this point, I don't know if OS even fights the charge backs or they just eat them and place bans on the accounts.

    What I would like to know is if OS acts when they see a pattern of behavior across a certain account or IP address and if they then take action.

    As far as I know, OutSpark's method of dealing with charge backs is to ban all accounts that accessed that SparkCash.  The gifting account will receive a ban, as will all other accounts that received gifts.  Because OutSpark will not receive the money from the sale of that SparkCash because of the charge back, their methods are understandable and justified.  OutSpark will release the ban on your account if either the amount of SparkCash charged back is paid back in full or the non-used items are returned/deleted.

    So as you can see, and as many players have worried, the system, as-is, can be used to further grief players by sending gifts to anyone and then placing a charge back on the transaction.  Since we no longer receive email confirmation of receiving a gift and finding out who gifted us, this can be particularly problematic.  We also do not have the ability to reject gifts.  So what should you do to protect yourself?

    Question everything.  If you see something odd in your premium inventory that you know for certain you didn't pay for, do not activate the item, instead send in a ticket.  The CSR team should be able to tell you who the gift was from.  If that person is unknown to you, you can also ask the CSR team to delete the item from your inventory safeguarding your account.  If you've already activated the item and moved it from the premium inventory into your regular inventory, you put yourself at risk.

    The safety and security of your account is your responsibility.  By opening yourself up to gifters and violating the TOS, you become extremely vulnerable.  Scammers are well aware that you can't open a ticket complaining that you got scammed in a gift-for-gold transaction since that in itself is illegal.  Be aware.

    Friday, September 2, 2011

    Reunited and it Feels So Good......

    Ever been browsing through vendors and you see something that just makes your heart stop?  Sometimes it's something rare, sometimes it's something with ridiculous stats, othertimes, well, it just strikes you with a faceful of nostalgia.  Well that happened to me today, with this wand.  Why?  Well because it used to be mine...

    Some backstory:  This wand was created back in the 59 cap, that's late 2007 folks, almost 4 years ago.  I can't believe it's still around and still in circulation.  Yes the stats are remarkably fail, but back when this wand was enhanced, greens were extremely rare.  You could level from 1-40 and maybe get 1 drop, or oftentimes, get nothing at all.

    When I sold this wand back in 2007, it was +7 with I think just the Ghost license on it.  I remember hours of grinding the Ghost/BabyWerebear spot with my Cleric friend, Mairae.  We duoed a lot back then and had a lot of fun exploring maps we had no business venturing to.. like CP2.

    So the wand has now come full circle.  From my hand, passed through dozens of others, and back home.  This one's going in the trophy case folks, a testament to perseverance.

    Special thanks to Sepht for vending it, yes I completely overpaid for it (17g), but it was worth it.
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