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Forgot Interviewing Archfiend
Recently, I've been able to catch up with Archfiend and get this interview with him... It's basically about everything he's been up to since quitting utopia at the start of round 4.

How did you start playing utopia?
I had started playing Earth like a month before it came out and someone told me to check out the "fantasy version of Earth" that was getting ready to come out....

What was your original reaction towards the game?
I liked it and thought it was a lot of fun...

Has utopia improved in your opinion? or has it simply gotten better and then started to slowly degenerate?
Well there's no question that Utopia is a lot less fun than it was when it started. A lot of that is because of the experience level of the players going up and causing rule changes to be made.

Do you think stratagy has become more complex or just plain weirder?
More complex. People understand the game a lot better. They explain it to other people. Then those people add there own little twists to it and it advances. The rules change to deal with it and the strategies and tactics change again. Utopia on a high level is a fairly complex game.

Was this the purpose of your Utopia Stratagy site in rounds 2 and 3?
I did that site as a practice site to learn about making web pages. I decided to do a Utopia site since I liked the game and was good at it.

Did you originally expect it to get so big? It wasn't that huge actually. It pulled like 8k impressions a month when Utopia had 30k players. At the time there really weren't any other sites with good players writing articles on how to play. It was only updated once a week =) better than anti's
Anti's site was the one everyone talked about first round =) But he never updated it and it eventually died...

What sort of stuff did you originally plan for it? was the result different than the material you thought you would write?
Not at all... I figured I'd write some editorials and articles on how to play and that would pull people in. It worked out about like I expected =) Anti switched names for some reason.. ironically he was actually even a mod back then =)

What do you think was the biggest thing ever for your site, apart from the Interview with Mehul, of course?
The History of Utopia. That's been linked from a lot of sites and I still get requests to update it even today.

Why did you leave utopia at the end of the third round?
Actually I left after about a week of the first round... basically playing Utopia at a high level is a lot of work. I just didn't want to put in the time to do it. I can't just play for fun either. With Utopia I am not content just to play for fun or play a thief account. I could crack a million NW playing 10 minutes a day and farting around but I just can't do that. When I interviewed Kanga he said basically the same thing.

Did it also have something to do with the fact that Mehul was reshuffling and you would no longer be in Drunken Monkey Clan? (dun worry, I remmebered you need to praise DMC at least once in every interview :->)
Well actually that was at the end of the round and I quit early so it wasn't a factor =) But I would of missed playing with my friends. The only way I would consider playing again is if we got to choose our kingdoms so I could play with my friends. I don't have the patience to cull out a bunch of lamers and inactives, teach newbies how to play, deal with people that play once a week, etc. I don't want to trade into a kingdom either (I still get multiple offers to trade into kingdoms every week)

(editor's note: at this point 'mien server ist kaput' so I had to reconnect to continue the interview ~Forgot )

speaking of the history of utopia and not getting a mention of DMC in... I believe there was a guy Called Borc Collective who did exactly that to you with his website! What was that about exactly?
I'll get you the short version.. he was a Utopia newbie who decided to make a website. He did so by basically going to all the other Utopia pages and taking articles off of them, removing the authors name, (even when it was mentioned in the article itself) and then putting it up on his page. Then he advertised his site on the Utopia forums by posting things like "Come see the History of Utopia at my site". Meanwhile I wrote that, had it up on my page as a draw, and never heard of him before. I went off on him and told him to take the material down. He originally agreed and then refused. He only put people's names on the material when I threatened to get him kicked off of Angelfire for copyright infringement (which I did by the way). Anyway, I basically came to the conclusion that he was an internet troll who got off on picking fights and at the time he got some friend to host him so I couldn't kick him off. He never really wrote anything of his own and his site just died. It's still up I think but I don't think it's been updated in a long time. Oh and I had his province eviscerated even though I wasn't playing =) He's a complete and utter loser. I don't like him and never will...

And neither would anyone else... what was it like for him in the forums (both utopia and the forums on his site)?
People hated him =) Not only was he a jerk to me but he and Larroke got into it over the same issue. He started a ICQ list on his page and copied a bunch of ICQ #s off the Utopian forum and put them up. People got mad over that. He was a complete jerk. People ripped him in the forums and he was always convinced that I was constantly anonymously ripping him =) (I wasn't by the way). He said he got several insulting emails per day and his forums had so many insults on them he eventually had to take them down. Well, what comes around goes around.

Did he do anything else particularly bad apart from ripping people's sites, insulting them and their work and putting up ICQ's on his page?
A few other things but that's a pretty good synopsis of his work =)

Would you like to comment on how he is now married (probably divorced in the 5 months since I've spoken to him) and is working on a multiplayer webgame like earth/utopia?
Nope. Good Luck on the game, good luck on the marriage. I don't like him and I never will. But other than the fact that I don't want him using my material I don't care what he does.

Speaking of your material, you've know got ALOT of it on your new site, www.brassknuckles.net, when did you start it up?
October of 1999.. When I finished with my Utopia site I moved on to that one.

Did the skills and fans you picked up using your utopia site pay off?
Well a little. But it wasn't a Utopia site so it didn't necessarily pull a lot of Utopia traffic. When the page started it pulled very minimal traffic.

What were your plans for the site?
Same as they are now. Get some article I could send out press releases on as draws (at the time I was thinking Utopia related, StarCraft, Interviews, and wrestling) and then put up quality articles that people liked so they'd see the page and decide to keep coming back. The overall concept have never changed although a lot of things about it have been refined.

Are you going to start putting up banners and making it a profit site in the near future?
Ya that's the goal. Hopefully within the next 2 1/2 weeks I'll have page changed over to a much more professional looking table based design and I will have an ad agency for the banner ads.

Will you be paying those poor over-worked volunteer writers then? (you know, those poor 8-year-old starving indian children you have chained up in the basement for cheap labour that you have?)
=) Didn't you read our top 10 Reasons to Read Brass Knuckles Webzine? =) (editor's note: you can read that one at http://www.brassknuckles.net/top10.html) We use no child labor =) Ya I'd like to pay people but I'm probably not big enough to do that yet.... Hopefully in a few months though that may change.

What about the monkey's on typewriters?
We sold those to those guys from the "Faces of Death" movies. I'm sure they'll give them a good home =)

How come there hasn't been much wrestling stuff on your site but alot of quality Starcraft, Humour and news? (ok, gimme that $5 now ;->)
I dropped wrestling. I had pretty good columns going but there are literally dozens of quality wrestling sites with newsboards, columns from 8-12 people, and lots of other features that pull 5k plus hits per day. I didn't want to try to compete.

Are you more happy with www.brassknuckles.net right now than you were being a big utopia player and having a big utopia site?
lol.. of course =) The Utopia site was just a practice site for this one =) One day I plan to work from home and just run Brass Knuckles. It won't happen next week but is it a realistic goal in a year or two? Absolutely.

Do you think you will ever command huge salaries for it like Mehul does?
Well that's a tall order. When you consider Mehul runs Utopia, Earth, Those sports games, webmaster resources, internet cards, etc, you realize how much traffic he's really pulling. I mean 80k users per day+ I'd estimate I (and almost everyone else) has a long way to go to catch up with Echelon.

Do you think he really deserves it for the sort of work he puts into it?
I have no idea how much time he puts in on everything but as far as I know he just hired a guy to help him. To be honest I'm surprised that one person could do all of that. Games like Space Merchant and Archmage had 7 or 8 people working together to develop them. Mehul not only did Earth solo, but he did Utopia solo, the sports games solo, and all the rest. Honestly I think that's amazing.

What about the amount he neglects the games after thier inception?
I think a lot of that is because he's just so busy. Can you imagine how many emails he gets per day from all of this stuff? Hundreds I'm sure. I do think that sometimes he doesn't put enough thought into the changes he makes in games but nobodies perfect. People are going to complain no matter what changes he makes. Plus no matter how smart you are and how well thought out any changes you make are, when you have 50k people looking for the best way to take advantage of them, trust me, they'll find ways to do it. So you think he's 'doing his job then'? I think so. I've played some other free games on the net too and I can promise you they're no rose garden either =) All of them have flaws. I think Utopia does a pretty good job overall of putting together a game even if I don't always agree with every change they make.

Seeing to the success of such interactive webgames like utopia, earth 2025 and others like space merchant, do you think this sort of thing will be even more popular in the future or is it just a passing phase?
it's definitely not a passing phase. I think it's just getting started. People will look at the success of games like Archmage and Utopia and will be inspired to make their own games...

What about games like Ultima online, with better graphics engines?
Those are a different animal because they are pay for play but they are going to explode as well. Consider that in Everquest people are selling characters and items for sometimes thousands of dollars. A lot of people I know call it Eversmack. If it's that popular, people will copy it and try to improve on it. Online gaming has nowhere to go but straight up.

Do you think these sorts of games will push the older multiplay games with smaller numbers of players per game like starcraft and quake 3 out of the market or will they stay popular?
5 years from now in US I think 90%+ of the population will have computers and almost all of them will have high speed access. Across the rest of the world the number of people using computers is going to skyrocket. The money to be made on the net from gaming, web pages, etc has to go up. For all of these games

Do you think there are any specific standouts in the market currently which you like and the ones you think will become really 'big'
Personally I play a lot of StarCraft, Quake 1 (mulitplayer), Worms Armageddon, and the D2 beta. I will be playing a lot of Diablo 2 when it comes out. Really the marketplace determines which ones make it "big".

Are you planning to do anything else apart from Brassknuckles in the future?
I am also going to try to do some freelance writing. Since I'm already writing for Brass Knuckles I may be able to sell the articles as well. Magazines like Details pay as much as a dollar a word. I've also been writing out the outline of a swords and sorcery type novel. I have an outline set up of the 1st and 2nd books and part of the third. I should of started actually writing it but I never seem to find the time.

What sort of plot are you planning to set the novel behind? and do you have any particular inspirations in fantasy writers (eg. Piers Anthony, Eddings etc.)?
Two doomed twins trying to put a kingdom back together... I have been influenced a lot by Michael Moorcock, Robert Howard, and Fritz Leiber among others.

Will it be a long series or just a stand alone trilogy?
I can make it infinitely long (i.e. the Conan novels). The first will be a set up sort of novel... getting the main characters in place, setting up the death of the kingdom. the second will be more of a transition to a standard fantasy adventure novel. The third will start that way and will end with them starting (and failing) to get the kingdom back together. I've fleshed out the important characters and events and like how it flows

Will you be moving into authoring then or will you be split between doing articles and writing?
No way to know... as long as I control my own time, do something I like, and make enough money either would be fine.

Do you consider yourself as an artist then?
An artist? lol.... I suppose....

Do you agree with Napster's Side or Metallica's side (editor's note: the question is refering to the current legal debate where Metallica wants napster to prevent users from passing on MP3's of Metallica songs using it's program) or have a different opinion on artists rights? what about Courtney Love's newest move to break from her company?
I actually agree with Napster. Napster can be used legally and it may be illegal to download Metallica's Mp3s for example but I don't think it's unethical because it's for private use. If I buy book and let u read it is that unethical? If I record a tv show on my VCR to watch later is that unethical? What about recording a song on tape off the radio? I'd say no Considering that sales for the music industry went up 20% last year I see no evidence that Napster is taking money out of anyone's pockets. Furthermore they are not using any of these artists names to promote their product or sell Napster.

Well I'd like to thank you for this UNN interview (although it's not technically really about utopia) and on behalf of everyone here I'd like to thank you for gracing us with your presence :-> Before we go, is there anything else you would like to shout out or promote? apart from www.Brassknuckles.net, that is...
Not at all, that's my baby =]

thanks, Good night

- Forgot (Feb-2000)

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