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Diablo II Secret Cow Level 2017-02-04

I haven't been posting anything here lately and I admit I am a bit disappointed about it. I have been a little busy lately though because I got an HP DL360 G5 server and am working on moving all my mail and web site stuff over to it. I really was pretty happy with SSDNodes when I first got my VPS with them last summer, but they have kind of fallen from grace with me. I got an email from Matt at SSDNodes about their great new product Strasmore, with a fancy link that would track who clicked on it in their email. I asked how I ended up being on this [clearly marketing] mailing list and was told that I could be unsubscribed from the mailing list but that would also mean I would not receive important messages about things like system maintenance. Really? You really can't separate "Planned Maintenance on Thursday!" kinds of messages from "Wanna buy more stuff?" kinds of messages?

So... although the service has been pretty good and the price seems to be better than I could find elsewhere, I am gonna leave them. It just isn't fair to treat paying customers like a commodity to be marketed at. And what is worse, it seems pretty well all companies do it. They essentially hold your customership hostage by all agreeing to be assholes. Your choice is to be the product by accepting their forced marketing, find a way to provide the service yourself [at typically much higher cost], or just not have access to the service at all. Thanks for having the integrity to not force marketing on paying customers SSDNodes. :-(

Having said all that, it was only one marketing email in the first six months of my customership, and it was probably a result of someone not realizing they were supposed to filter the database when making a list of email recipients for email marketing campaigns... but it still bothered me, and they could have just admitted the mistake. Anyways, I have also been busying myself with trying to find a game to play. I have blown about a decade on Guild Wars and am worried they'll pull the plug on it like they did with Dungeon Runners, leaving me with no more time sink. So I got out my old Diablo II CD's and started playing that again. Here are some of the reasons I like good old Diablo II.

That last one is actually kind of a big deal. Game authors got tired of making so little money that they shifted towards a server-based design. This gave them the ability to use subscription based billing if they wanted to, and allowed them to kill accounts with little or no opportunity to appeal. This gave them nice financial rewards such as getting money from players monthly even if they were not active that month and forcing dedicated players to rebuy the game if they get banned. Now it is easy to say "well, they could just not rebuy the game" but if you have invested thousands of hours in a game and then suddenly get cut off (not an incredibly rare situation) you're probably going to feel pretty motivated to buy another copy so you can keep the same "playing circle" of friends.

Anyways, in Diablo II there is a Secret Cow Level which can be accessed by

  1. Completing a level
  2. Putting a Tome Of Town Portal and Wirt's Leg in the Horadric Cube
  3. Going to the Rogue Encampment in the completed difficulty
  4. Hitting transmute on the cube

A portal to the cow level will open and you may enter to fight the Hell Bovines. If you happen to kill the Cow King you won't be able to create the portal anymore, but you will be able to go through a portal created by another player.

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