61*

Posted: February 23, 2007 by Kendricke in General Game Concepts, Guilds

In 1961, Yankee fielder Roger Maris set a controversial record for the most home runs hit within a single season of baseball.  This feat wasn’t actually officially recognized till 1991, some six years after his death.

Why the controversy?  Why the lack of recognition? 

Some would say that it was purely numbers.  The previous record for home runs within a single season had been set 34 years earlier by Babe Ruth, when he hammered 59 homers in 154 games.  In 1961, the MLB had beefed up the season to 162 games – meaning Maris had 8 additional games to break the Babe’s record.  By game 154, Roger had merely tied the record with another 59 home runs. 

Others would say that there was a great deal of politics involved.  For one thing, you’re talking about trying to break a record in the House that Ruth Built…that had itself been set by the man himself.  There’s a lot of emotion tied up with Babe Ruth in 1961 New York. 

More than anything though, was the manufactured “rivalry’ between Roger Maris and his much more popular teammate, Mickey Mantle.  Maris wasn’t the only slugger closing in on the record in ’61; Mantle was also in the running. 

Whereas Maris was generally looked upon as surly and even confrontational by the media, Mantle was painted as a bit of a golden boy.  The press loved Mickey and showered his every hit with praises, while constantly finding ways to badger the less popular Maris. 

To make matters all the worse, Commisioner of Baseball, Ford Frick, decrees halfway through the season that unless the record was broken in 154 games, the record would be forever listed separately as a different record altogether.  Even though the MLB had no official listing of records, and though Frick never stated how the record might be listed separately, urban myth quickly propped up the idea of an asterisk (*) to distinguish any record which took more than 154 games.

What does any of this have to do with MMO’s?

Recently, SOE’s new Community Manager, Craig “Grimwell” Dalrymple, publically recognized the guild Pandemonium for their “World Wide First” kill of the Avatar of Valor on February 12.  What’s confusing to most players is that the Avatar of Valor was actually killed back on January 11.  You can see the news of this event on Second Dawn’s news page.  You can also see item discoveries which credit a January 11th kill on SOE’s own EQ2players.com site.

So who’s on first here?

To hear Pandemonium’s version of events, they get to claim the ‘first” kill because previous to their February 12 fight, the Avatar of Valor encounter wasn’t spawning correctly, and SOE changed the fight.  To them, they apparantly feel entitled to the recognition of being “first” because their version is the “correct” version of the kill.

But is it really?

According to most accounts, the encounter hasn’t changed in any significant way – or at least not significantly enough to merit a new “world wide first” available kill.  When Second Dawn first killed the Avatar, it wasn’t much different from the “new” Avatar that Pandemonium downed over a month later. 

The difference?  Second Dawn didn’t get recognition of that kill officially.  To be fair, they’ve had their own time in the sun when SOE officially recognized them for their world first kill of Wuoshi, the green dragon Guardian of Growth.  However, there was no fanfaire or public accolades from SOE on their first Avatar kill a few weeks later.  No, not till Pandemonium contacted SOE about their own “world wide first” was another guild recognized by SOE.

That’s right.  You read that correctly.  Pandemonium contacted SOE, and not the other way around.  That’s the other tricky part of this story.  You see, Pandemonium now claims they never contacted SOE, but the official announcement and follow-up posts by  Community Management all indicate that Pandemonium initiated the discussion. 

So, where does this leave us?  Faced with increasingly hostile and growing response from the playerbase, SOE moderators deleted 3 full pages of posts (from the 5 page announcement thread) and at least a few suspensions were handed out (at least, that is if reports are to be believed from those claiming to have received such punishments).  Grimwell, faced with some pretty heavy evidence that the first kill actually took place more than a month earlier first responds that SOE has confirmed the actual date of the first kill…and then responds that he’ll look into the issue further.

To be fair, I don’t envy Grimwell in this position.  He’s definately not in a spot I’d want to be in, damned if he does, and damned if he doesn’t.  And though I’ve spent a great deal of time discussing his actions and reactions to this unfolding drama, the real question here has little to do with any statement he has or ccould possibly make.  No, the real question is still unanswered…

What determines a world wide first? 

Is it the first time a target is killed?  If so, does this mean that Ne Plus Ultra has the world wide first for Tarinax (even though they were able to enter Deathtoll weeks before other guilds due to a GM accidently awarding them full access to the zone when they hadn’t yet killed all the dragons necessary)? 

Is it the first “legitimate” kill then?  If so, what counts at legitimate?  If an encounter is obviously bugged or broken to be much easier than it should be, does this belittle the accomplishment of the “first” kill? 

What if SOE just changes an encounter after the fact?  Remember Darathar?  How many times has he been changed?  Who really gets to claim the “real” world wide “first”?

And so the question remains?  What counts as a “world wide first?”

More to the point here, does Second Dawn’s kill of the Avatar of Valor on January 11th count as the first kill, or does it go down in virtual history as having an asterisk (*) forever affixed to the accomplishment?

UPDATE:  Grimwell has acknowledged the error, and awarded the kill to Second Dawn. 

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