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Some Space Merchant History

Charles Rector's Weblog; Jun. 2, 2012; By Charles Rector
Type: Thoughts


From: The since defunct Willowstrance Forum/Historical Archive website:

A long since deleted post from the SMR Forum:

And now for some Space Merchant History:

The late, lamented game Space Merchant had a controversy-filled history. One aspect of the game’s past was the corruption showed by the game’s staff that, in part, led to SM’s downfall. While it is true that, during this writer’s playing days (January, 2000-late summer, 2001), the corruption was pretty much limited to the so-called Veterans Games, where less than 20% of the SM playership did their thing, the end result was to give SM a black eye that helped hasten its downfall. Here from the successor game Space Merchant Realms Forum is a post by one of the all-time greatest players and alliance leaders from SM’s past concerning the corruption that eventually destroyed the game:


Joined: 16 Sep 2002
Posts: 14

Posted: Wed Sep 25, 2002 10:46 pm Post subject:


Blum wrote:
“Admin favouritism towards HoA? Where did you get that from? Do you have any evidence (except for HoA being better than whatever your alliance was)
As for HoA having superior numbers that was true only for online numbers at specific moments. HoA, and other “Evil Empires” almost always had to fight groups that were at least twice it’s size.

BTW, fitch, who are you? What alliance were you in in the good old days?”

I was Inspector Fitch back in the old days up until the Catronia Incident, after which I decided that the game was for the birds as long as the then-current staff was running it. I was with, at varying times with the Bounty Hunter’s Guild, The Space Marines & Task Force Alpha aka TSM’s recruitment/training alliance. What Blum says here about HoA’s prowess in the past is all a self-serving myth.

First of all, the Horsemen of the Apocalypse was really nothing more than The Unforgiven sans Dude Man and Elvis Fett and renamed to fit Montana_Mike’s weirdo predilections. TU, it may be remembered, was the admin’s favorite alliance. It was the outfit that Speef, Gir Draxon and Dover all played with. The TU was also the beneficiary of the admin’s in-game actions. Speef would change the make up of the universe, moving planets and stuff around in the name of “improving” the universe. It always worked to the advantage of TU and to the detriment of its opponents. Speef would freeze the accounts of entire alliances in the name of an investigation supposedly being made into cheating, a classic example of shooting first and asking questions later. These freezes always came just before a TU attack.

It was through such machinations that such major alliances as the Politburo and Willowstrance were destroyed. There were many players who saw through Speef’s lies about how he was acting in the game’s best interest, but just simply quit since they couldn’t see anything that they could do to stop it. However, there was one player with the courage to stand up for that which was right. His name was Rat Fighter, one of the truely great all-time players of the old SM. He posted to the Webboard about Speef’s cheatings on behalf of the TU and how it was ruining the game. The TU’s leaders, Dude Man and Elvis Fett, were outraged by this courageous act and they rounded up over 100 of their puppets to post back against Rat Fighter and demand that he get banned from SM. In the face of this storm, there were only 2 SM players, Omega Prime and myself, who had the courage to post to the Webboard supporting Rat Fighter.

Speef followed the dictates of his TU bosses and banned Rat Fighter from the game. In response, a massive boycott movement sprung up from the players and roughly 40% of the players quit playing SM in a very short period of time. This boycott forced Shareplay owner Jonathan Manton to step in and attempt to fix the problem lest the boycott lead to the destruction of his perilously financed company. However, he failed to fully fix the problem by firing the likes of Speef and hire honest employees. Instead, he decided to ban the admins from playing the game. This had the unfortunate effect of admins not knowing just what effect their changes had on the game, which from what I’ve heard worked to the game’s long-term detriment.

Another problem was that old habits died hard. Speef and his colleagues remained cheaters, but they were more careful in how they went about doing things. They turned a blind eye to TU/HoA cheating, but were quick to punish others for doing the same kind of things. Even when they moved against proven cheaters like Catronia, they would quickly backtrack. I left the game after it became clear that cheating would continue to ruin the game. I know of others who left for the same reasons later on. Eventually, all the cheating caught up with Speef and friends and their game eventually went kaput due to the lack of player support.

Now, we have honest and impartial admins with Spock and Azool. They have learned the lessons of the past. Mark my words, SMR will prove to be a far greater game than SM ever was. In fact, to some extent it already is, and we have Spock and Azool to thank for it.

Inspector Fitch MPOG News-Log

Willowstrance Message Board


I hope to see you again in SMR Fitch. You are missed.

I would like to point out some things though about this post you made. Willowstrance was not destroyed. We finished first in Famine and that was really the last game WT was in, in force though many, and it seems you also, did not understand that. Another important misconception that is held by many needs to be cleared up. Dude Man never tried to have me banned though I suspect you are correct that EF was a major force behind it and if not he was quite happy about it. Dude Man was an honorable player and still to this day has my respect and I believe he returns that respect to me and Willow. Personally I am sorry that such actions that I took in the name of honesty and honor back then, as pointing out that Speef and other admins were cheating, led to such dishonorable results as hurting the game and the Mantons. That was never my intent and I regret it. Though as most know, I will still make a stand for honor and honesty anytime anywhere.


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