Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sockpuppets and trainwrecks

Sigh...I guess I just can't avoid being dragged back into the Dark Phoenix Publishing mess. It's certainly not for lack of trying to avoid it. A few days pass, it appears that the stupid subsides a bit, and then I wind up finding something else double-take worthy.

The latest sad development is the posting of a review for Vampire: Undeath, by none other than "Mark Smith". This is so obviously a sockpuppet review it just stops being not funny and diverges into really pathetic. The choice of words, grammar, Unnecessary Capitalization, and odd turns of phrase ("in the modern nights") are dead ringers that it was penned by our friend Mykal Lakim. In addition, the review does nothing but directly address talking points Mykal Lakim himself has made (using levels, the wound system, Empathy, etc) or justify/defend problems that review and others have brought up (lack of distribution, editing, ads in the middle of the book). Mentioning Vampire: Undeath is part of the "Wastelands of Damnation series" is another dead giveaway. The name for the series wasn't coined until after Vampire: Undeath was released - yet the review tries to come off as someone who just randomly bought the product and Vampire: Undeath says it's part of the G.A.M.E. or L.I.F.E system.

While it's possible that because of the minor amount of attention that the game has received an independent party went to the Dark Phoenix Publishing Facebook page, perused everything, and then came to the decision to support the underdog and buy the book - it's much more likely that this is a sockpuppet. "Mark Smith" created a Google+ account and immediately posted the review, on a blog creatively titled "Vampire Undeath Review", that has precisely one post. "Mark Smith" and "James Pendragon" - the other suspected Mykal Lakim sockpuppet account - have similarities in the way their information is wordedIt's really not surprising, as Mykal Lakim was banned from RPG.NET for confirmed sockpuppeting - so this review is just continuing sad behavior from someone who can't seem to quit sad behavior.