About Me

My Photo

Hello! I am teaching law at St. Petersburg State University. Major part of my research is connected to virtual worlds and massive multiplayer online games (a broad field which includes Internet law, video game law, virtual law and game studies). This interest derives from my passion for computer games which I consider as one of the most important cultural artifacts ever created. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Cannot Buy Guild Wars 2

Something new in digital distribution. 

I have just opened the official 'Buy Guild Wars 2' page and I have read that 'Serial codes for Guild Wars 2 are temporarily unavailable from buy.guildwars2.com.'

I wonder what may be the reason?

In any case, as for me, this helps to find an answer to what game [not] to play this week-end.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Patch 5.0.4 Is Live Now

...and World of Warcraft has some new sweet features. Check the patch note. My favourite are account-wide achievements, pets and mounts, along with the cross-realm zones. Oh, how cool the latter would be with mentoring.

Monday, August 27, 2012

3 Things Which Mists of Pandaria Won't Introduce...

...but which could make World of Warcraft more enjoyable and competitive. Just my private opinion, based on recent discoveries of certain game mechanics, mostly through Everquest 2 and RIFT, but through some other games as well.

Friday, August 24, 2012

4 Best Music Machinima

It is the Friday time! Congratulations on successful (hopefully) finishing of the work week. If you read this blog, you are probably a MMORPG enthusiast ready either to enjoy new exeprience or to have some nostalgia.

Instead of the fact that I am kind of reluctant to log in World of Warcraft recently (due to my discovery of Everquest 2 and The Secret World), I must admit that the best machinima I have ever met still pertains to World of Warcraft.

The well-known nickname of the artist is Cranius, and the hit "Ulduar", the reference whereto is given below, features a wonderful vocale of Summergale. If you have ever had a good World of Warcraft playing experience, or if you have at least some form of sympathy, you will certainly enjoy the music.

 
 



If you scrolled down here, you may most likely also enjoy the original "The Highwayman" music video by "The Highwaymen", just click "READ MORE".

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Paragon Levels Introduced To Diablo III

You may follow the link to official Blizzard summary of the system for the details. Porbably the game may be revived for a period of time. 

Looks like Blizzard did a good job in adding a form of end-game to Diablo III. I hope to come back with a short overview as soon as I test it myself. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Secret World: First Impressions

The Secret World, conventionally, "TSW", was a long awaited game for me due to setting. I like conspirology, H.P. Lovercraft novels and other relevant things as setting for computer games and fiction (this is just another disclaimer for THEM not to get me).

What I did not like was how Funcom customer service worked on my issue with Anarchy Online a year ago. In short, my valid credit card was automatically rejected, and after a lengthy correspondence with Funcom manager, the problem still was not solved. I also had some technical problems with Age of Conan. Europe definitely does not trust Russian bank cards.

However, I finally decided that everything will work better with TSW as it is the latest product, and I am not disappointed yet. Even if this is just because I have not yet had a necessity to contact the customer support, this very fact is a good one.

The game is new, the setting is fresh for MMORPGs, and the overall impression is highly positive. What makes TSW so special?




Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Royal Quest

The Illuminati, the Templars and the Dragons apparently do their best effort to impede writing of my The Secret Wolrd post. 

This time they have chosen to use a smart distracting factor - Royal Quest MMORPG, a Ragnarok-like game made by Katauri Interactive, the developers of King's Bounty.

Actually, you may get wrong impression from a bit outdated official video given below. Be noted that the game plays much better than it looks.  


Monday, August 20, 2012

The Next Update Will Be Soon

Dear friends,

Thank you for regular visits to my blog!

I was busy with a couple of professional matters. However, I managed to find some time and check The Secret World on the week-end.

I hope to come back shortly with several posts, including first impressions of this MMO game and some issues of virtual law.

Friday, August 17, 2012

A Real Contribution To Video Game Culture

My thanks to Vingos for sharing this.

What is great in this music video from an artistic standpoint is that visual means which are directly and traditionally associated with the very idea expressed were used. 

  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Real Taxation Of Virtual Income

Prima facie thoughts on the matter.

Any virtual world (or even just an essentially single-player game with online elements such as Diablo 3) which has some kind of internal currency may pose a player in a dubious legal situation.

Would (and should) a virtual trader, whether he/she trades on a regular basis or a one-time transaction is in question, be taxed in real-life?


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Astonishing Voting Results

Today the first poll of this blog is closed, and it has the whole lot of 1 (One) person voted.

Dropping down the number(s) I can state that 100% of the people who participated in the survey confirmed that video games change life in a positive way.

Way to go!

Just to make sure that everyone does not overestimate my degree of seriousness: the tone of this post is ironic.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Games In The Maslow's Hierarchy

Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist, is famous for his "pyramid" which is a schematic depiction of the hierarchy of human's needs.

The sequence starts at the bottom and ends at the top. Fulfilling of each step is necessary to achieve the next one. One can hardly be a good friend if this person is starving to death.  

Is there a place any place for games (including video games) at such a chart?

Borrowed from the Wikipedia under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. Author: Factoryjoe. Quite long legal notice, but it looks more proper than before.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Why The Population of Everquest 2 Has Increased

The active population of Everquest 2 has increased. Or at least it seems to be so looking through the eyes of a level 45 avatar.

This post is a quick recap of prima facie reasons for this fact (or at least a hypothesis).


Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Best Blogging Advice Post

The first week of blogging is over. I want to share a blogging advice link which I found the most useful.

Actually, I read a lot of blogging advice posts, and wanted to write something like "Top 10 Blogging Advice Links" post at first.

However, after a brief re-research of the web, I stumbled upon the most concise and informative piece of advice, not to mention some good humour:



Randfish, SEOmoz, the link below. Initial reference to Everywhereist
 
READ "21 TACTICS TO INCREASE BLOG TRAFFIC (UPDATED 2012)"

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Kant's Categorical Imperative

It never stops to amaze me how relevant to day-to-day life this is:

'Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law'

-  Kant, Immanuel; translated by James W. Ellington [1785] (1993). Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals 3rd ed.. Hackett. pp. 30.

George Orwell Plaza, Barcelona

Sharing a random thought. Fortunately, there is a proper photo on Flickr by Karramarro.

 Plaza de George Orwell

4 Reasons Why Virtual Law Stands Still

Enthusiasm for virtual law is one thing, reality is another. Virtual law is in standstill.First evidence of virtual law emerged in 1980th. First articles on virtual law were written about ten years ago. Yet the law is scarce and fragmentary.  And if you try to check virtual law blogs, what you mostly will see is a graveyard. 


Definition Of Virtual Law

The term virtual law currently has two main meanings: (1) part of real-life law as applied to virtual worlds (in narrow sense), or (2) law emerging through cooperation of virtual worlds' users/avatars in a virtual social reality.

Let's elaborate on this a bit further.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Golden Rule of Quality Content

To produce quality content one needs to consume and to digest quality content.

Just a thought to share.

And I believe that this is not only about blogging.

Battle.Net Suffered A Security Breach

A security update by Mark Mohaime here.

Cross-Border E-Commerce Duty Free

Working on a customs law project, I have thought for a moment how customs law and virtual worlds may be connected.

By the way, this way of thinking seems to be what Robert Anton Wilson, among others, recommended to use in order to improve creativity - to think about two or more things which are not, at the first glance, connected. 

Returning to the topic. A prima facie suggestion is - through e-commerce issues.

The main relevant problem, which appears to be quite topical in view of World Trade Organization (WTO) development is whether products downloaded online (or, which is more interesting, purchased online for the online use only) from abroad should be subject to customs duties


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sony Lanuches SOEmote

And it is really fun!

Check the video:



Shall we expect tons of next-generation machinima?

Link To A Diablo 3 RMAH Article

Josh Bycer has posted a new article on Gamasutra, "Dealings With Diablo", which is a good starting point for the discussion on current state of virtual property.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

5 Ways Video Games Help You In Real Life

I am getting annoyed with discussions blaming video games. I firmly believe that video games are not bad, rather they are neutral at worst, and, if used wisely, may be quite helpful.

You can hear some stories how video games ruined people's life. Trust me: the problem was NOT that such people were playing video games, the problem was that they did not do anything else.

Furthermore, video games are not an escape from reality (just as literature, movies and other media) - they are a part of reality themselves. And as all things are interconnected, advancement in video games may have positive impact on performance in other activities.


Skyrim's Got Talent

I have never seen a better music video dedicated to a video game, although my philosophy enforces me to make a disclaimer that this is a personal opinion and that the word "cute" is highly subjective.


Lindsey Stirling, a quarter finalist of fifth season of America's Got Talent (2010) and Peter Hollens.  




Many know this itch to include a "FUS-RO-DAH" somewhere in a message like this.  


Do you know any better music video dedicated to a game, made at the same professional level?

A Mindset For Competitive Gameplay

Magic: The Gathering is one of my favorite games, whether it is played with paper cards or online (MTGO). Although I play MTGO only for competitive games as it is more convenient if you work.

My performance improved drastically when I learned a simple thing, the one which the players who are better than me probably understand from the beginning - players themselves are a part of the game.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The "MMO Research" Blog

For anyone who, for some strange occasion, got to my blog before the one I am giving reference to, I am posting a link to "MMO Research" blog. It is mostly related to psychology, and the passion for games is clear.

Enjoy!

http://mmoresearch.blogspot.com/

Ways To Share Knowledge

Modern MMORPG Players are spoiled by popular World of Warcraft tools to gather, share and search information about the world (Wowhead, Wowpedia). 

It was surprising for me to find another solution elaborated by the community to keep the record of collective research efforts (which effectively this activity is) while I was travelling in Norrath.

This also may be useful for those who are also new to Everquest 2. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

End Of A World: Who To Appeal?

What is in common between such MMORPGs as Tabula Rasa, Acheron's Call 2, Earth Eternal, Star Wars Galaxies and some others?

All of them are SHUT DOWN by now (by the way, I was surprised to know that the first Acheron's Call is still running!).

What can a lawyer say looking at this situation?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sandbox And Theme Park MMORPGs

It is common to make rational choices in selecting objects of art/industry to enjoy. Whether we are speaking about food, movies, books, wine, cars etc. it is a priority to have a refined taste which, on the basis of precise information, would allow to make a proper choice. I believe that computer games should be no exception.   

Two weeks ago I was frustrated as a gamer. I was completely bored with World of Warcraft and was playing RIFT. I found RIFT a very solid game with many good features, however something in its design, probably the visual style, happened to be not appealing enough to hook me for a considerable period of play. I wandered for a couple of days until I stumbled upon Everquest 2. Incredible! I knew about this game all the time, but happened to try it after seven years, and now I am very happy to reside in Norrath.

Introduction

This year I gave seminars in theory of law to a group of first year students. Often, when we were just starting the class, the students and me exchanged some short replicas not related to the subject.        
'Is it true that you have a profile in social network?' one of the students asked me.
'Yes,' I said. In fact, I indicated in my profile that I have interest in computer games and, in particular, in World of Warcraft.
'Is it true then that you play World of Warcraft?'
'Yes, very true.'
'Wow! I have three level 85 characters there!'
'I have five.' After I had said this without showing any emotion, the audience was rolling on the floor laughing. 

Welcome to my blog!

By way of introduction I am a lawyer and a university teacher (theory of law and political science) with a passion for computer games. I am used to think that if only my math grades at school were better, I would certainly go to math faculty and learn programming. However, my friends are sure  that I am kidding. Personally, I am far less sure.