Today PAX wrapped up. I had an even better time at this one than the
first. The big difference was the folks from Gamers With Jobs… or as
we’re known, the Goodjers. In 2007 I spent a lot of time and attention
trying to spot them amongst the crowd. Know what? It’s just too big.
Too many people. This time around I took a more relaxed attitude. I got
in line for the keynote speech, I watched the Gabe & Tycho Q&A session, I
wandered the Expo hall and accumulated swag. I didn’t end up running into
anyone from GWJ until I was killing time at the PC freeplay area and ran
into Tamren, Docbadwrench, and Creatureparade. We sat for a bit and
played PC games until just before the meet-n-greet (we call them “slap &

Word is, it was the biggest GWJ meet-up to date. Informal counts put the
number around 50. Now while the barwas noisy and seating arrangement was
not ideal, I had a really good time (until the live music started). With
numbers and contacts set up Friday night, we made arrangements for
Saturday morning. First was Munchkin at 10am and then on a whim we
decided to join the Team Fortress 2 tournament. So 6 of us signed up as
“Team Abomination”. We kicked ass the first round but got knocked out the
second round by a much better team. Ah well! We’re consoled that we
survived the first round at least.

I then wandered the floor some more, got some time in the console
free-play room on Batman: Arhkam Asylum. Then for the Saturday night
might-up, some of the GWJ folks got together at a bar and we sat around
shooting the shit. I turned out to be the only non-local there! We drank
and talked until about 9pm when we decided to head back to the center to
see if we could get into the concert. Which we did. And which FUCKING
ROCKED. I mean, my knees are an absolute wreck today from all the
standing we did, but I had a blast. First Freezepop (who, honestly, we’re
just so loud that it made the actual melody hard to hear), then a duo of
comedic musicians named Paul & Storm who were hilarious and good
songwriters to boot. Finally Jonathan Coulton came on, playing favorites
like Still Alive (this crowd ate that up, naturally), Re: Your Brains (it
was an experience to see/hear thousands of people sing the chorus while
dangling their hands out above their heads like zombies), and Skullcrusher
Mountain. His “final song” (he joked that it was his last song until he
fake leaves the stage to return for an encore) was a strange mix of his
tune “Fancy Pants”, then he “left” and came back to sing Neil Diamond’s
“Sweet Caroline” with the crowd enthusiastically shouting the “Ba ba ba!”
every refrain. When we thought this was it and started heading out, the
crowd was shoting his name so he came back and did a “second” encore.
This time he played TMBG’s immortal classic “Birdhouse in Your Soul”…
and flubbed the lyrics!

The panels this year were all very popular and crowded. To get into them,
you had to make a serious time investment by waiting in line. I put my
time in for the keynote and Wil Wheaton’s one-man panel on Sunday. And he
rocked the house. It was a great talk plus Q&A session and this was
totally his crowd. Next year I won’t be surprised if he gets his panel
moved to the main theater. After Wil Wheaton wrapped up, I rejoined the
Goodjers for my first game of Dominion (I lost). PAX 2009 was wrapped up
with a hipster mexican dinner with Cory “Demiurge” Banks and friends.

While my vacation isn’t over, my visit to PAX was. I had so much fun this
year I want to thank everyone who made it great.

Valve screws TF2 players

A few months back, Valve introduced the poorly-thought-out system of
random weapon unlocks in TF2. Previous to that, you’d earn weapon unlocks
by playing and getting achievements. Their random system involved a
percent chance of getting a random weapon unlock every 25 minutes or so.
A few people discovered that this timer would count down even if you were
only idling on a server, so you didn’t even have to play.

A player by the nick of Drunken_F00l discovered that you’d even get
unlocks if you pretended to idle, so he wrote a program that made Valve
think your game was idling. I initially didn’t use it for several weeks
after hearing about it because it sounded hinky. But since so many were
using it without consequence, and because Valve never said word one about
it, I started using it. Since the weapon unlocks were random, it was not
uncommon to find a duplicate of a weapon you already had. In those
instances, I’d delete one of them (it may have been the original or the

Today, after knowing about this for 3 months, Valve decided the idle
program was cheating and made the author shut it down. They then deleted
all “illegal” items gathered by this “cheating”. And yes, this included
weapons that were duplicates. In the case of duplicates, if the original
unlock had been deleted by the player, the player is left with nothing.
They’ve now punished their most enthusiastic players by leaving them with
less than they started with.

The end result is that despite having 13 milestones, the meta-achievements
that unlock items, the assholes at Valve have left me with 1 single
solitary unlock. An unlock I don’t even use or like. All of this because
of Valve’s fuck up and they were too busy planning this punishment to even
ask Drunken_F00l not to run or distribute his program.

Way to go, morons at Valve. Have you been taking customer relations
lessons from the fucking RIAA?