It’s been a bit of a hiatus, but I’m back – too much of your collective chagrin, I suppose. But it’s good to be reunited with the community and the game again, especially now that we have all of this new information and development unearthing itself beneath us. It feels as if we’re standing on some great, rich deposit now, one which may be mere months from exhumation. Can’t you smell it?

Now, I’m a little behind on the news, and what I should be doing is coming up with something new to talk about, but when I read of the hacker who tried to rip Aventurine off, I just had the giddiest notion. I can’t stress enough that this is meant purely in jest, as much in bad taste as it may be. For better or worse, I bring you a cautious thought, by yours truly.

If I Broke Into Aventurine HQ…

Let me start off by saying that I, in no way, would ever condone the stealing into a computer game company’s domain, electronically or physically, warranted or not. As much as my greedy fingers would love to defile the hallowed keyboards of those hardworking Devs, as long as I’ve waited for DFO to come to fruition – with no such fruit to show for it yet – I would never dream of committing so heinous of a felony to satisfy my wants. Such a thing is unthinkable. Scandalous.

So, why am I writing this down? Could it be the more sinister, covetous part of me wants to voice its say? Have my morals and principles decayed so far that I would actually partake in these guilty fantasies? Is it the NyQuil again?

Okay, so some nut job found his way into Aventurine’s stuff. Did I read it right? He snuck his naughty self into the system and had his way with their machines? The jerk even had the nerve to plant malicious seeds in his wake and take off with their greatest treasure: The Fabled Darkfall Game. But you all know as well as I do, ladies and gents, that the culprit did not make it far before he was served with a righteous fistful of justice. Yes, I’m sure, to this day, his grill gleams brightly with the steel, knuckle-imprints of Dutch Law.

That was long ago, and all is well. The greater good has been preserved, as it should be, and the game is safe and supposedly on its way into beta testing. We, the ones who recognize the importance of humanity and justice, can lean back in our swivel-chairs and kick off a spin of relief. As dutiful bystanders, we’ve done our part, and with a detached sense of triumph, we wait. As we have for a long while. Yeah, it’s been a hell of a long while…

Do we find ourselves sympathizing, in our restlessness, with the devious burglar who nearly took away our light – the one at the end of this long, dark and dank tunnel? Hardly. But do we envy the guy… this one man who came closer to experiencing the game than any of us well-deserving individuals have, in our many years of well-behaved waiting? Well, I wouldn’t dare to speak on behalf of the community, but a part of me wishes I could just… you know, rune-stone myself into his place, just switch for the time in question and go do my own thing. But that’s just me. I may be the only one who would humor his mischievous side with such daydreams. Reminiscent of high-school gym class, these weird, secret desires will remain unexplored. Soon, they’ll be forgotten. Call me what you will… but I am not a closet-fanboy.

Oh, but how fun it would be to sneak into Aventurine HQ! And not just the cowardly hacking into servers, but actually visiting their workplace! Really, what would you do, having been granted illicit and unlimited access to this temple of PvP gaming? We’ve all seen the pictures of the modestly adorned and spacious interior, and of the fancy equipment the developers work their magic on. It all looks so inviting. Well, I’ll tell you what I would do…

First stop: Claus’s desk. Yes, I know you’re reading this, Big C, and I’ve got your number. You know that picture of your wife and kids you keep on the desk? No? Okay, maybe it’s your pet cat… anyway, from now on you can stare at my pretty mug posing in a suggestive embrace with Henning’s Darkfall poster model. Yeah, I knew you’d like that. And you can forget about getting into your desk drawers, by the way; there’ll be so much duct tape wrapped around the thing that you won’t even recognize it. Hey, don’t take it personally; I did the same thing to my favorite teacher in high school. It’s a, uh… sign of respect.

Next stop: snack machine. The mention of duct tape and poster models makes me hungry for some bizarre reason.

Now for some real mischief. With great care and deliberation, I would leave my mark above everyone’s workspaces in the form of office-supply rotor blades on the ceiling fans. First person in tomorrow morning gets a face-full of stapler! Okay, maybe that’s a little harsh. And I’ll take down that three-hole puncher, too. I’ve always been one to go a little overboard with pranks… or so the authorities have mentioned.

Then, I guess, the temptation would have built to an unbearable peak. I would have to check out this game they’re working on. The hum of a dozen computers would fill the place as I madly try to find a working alpha of DFO, sifting my way through countless gigabytes of game renders, Polka music, and poorly hidden Paris Hilton videos. Then, realizing there’s a shortcut on the desktop of each one, I would check each machine’s specs to see which one would load the game faster – again, losing precious time because of bad, obsessive compulsive computer habits. Hey, a GeForce 8800! This one must be Tasos’s.

Eventually, we have a “Voila!” as the splash screen leads me into the menu, and the menu gives way to the graphics options. Here, I max it up, anti-aliasing and all; I want my first in-game glimpse to be pure eye candy. And now for character creation – oh, this is so cool!

Oh, no… Username? Password? These two words glare my way in taunting, bold lettering. Another mad search of all the desks around reveals nothing of help, no scraps of paper or golden keys. It seems these guys have all committed theirs to memory. Balls.

Then I look back towards Claus’s desk and I sigh. Why do I always end up regretting my exploits with duct tape? From Tasos’s top drawer, I retrieve a large hunting knife (don’t ask me) and go to work on undoing what I’ve done. Another hour later, my resigned form sits huddled under the shadow of the snack machine; I’m filling the void in my soul with candy and Slim Jims, having failed in cracking the game’s very first security feature. What did I think would happen? Stupid, stupid…

What now? Well, there’s still something I can do. I have a bit of Photoshop and 3DS Max experience, and there were all of those renders… and that picture of me. I’m sure Claus wouldn’t mind if I borrowed it back for a short while. Oh, and there’s a scanner. If I can’t play the game, at least I can still make my way into it, so to speak. Mad laughter echoes hauntingly through the empty building, and Henning wakes up at home with cold sweat running down his brow. With the right amount of neglect, this little Easter egg won’t be noticed until the first raid group hunts down the big, shiny demigod of Mercia, Darius VonBlacknitch. You will all bow to me when his Ultimate Blade of Daggerly Doom destroys the so-called champions of Agon.

Alright, I think before I let my imagination further run away with me, I should remind myself of my own disclaimer. Something about not condoning stuff… Right, as I was saying, it may be fun to daydream about these things, and maybe even write pointless articles to share your dumb ideas, but it’s also important not to underestimate the severity of what could have ensued. I mean, if that hoe-bag hacker had gotten away with our game, who knows how much longer we would have ended up waiting – if it ever came at all. Remember what happened to Half-Life 2? It took Valve an extra year or so to recover from that source code theft, and they’re a huge company. They rent storage space for their bags of gold. Aventurine does not.

Here’s to hoping this little rant strikes their funny bone, and not their last nerve. Sure, I could have used more tact, but that’s not how I roll. Timidly yours, everyone,

-Darius Black

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