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I have mixed feelings about this. I was a freelance business writer during the end of the DotCom boom. I actually did have some published pieces, and because of that, I didn't have too hard a problem getting into MOST industry events (where I was professional and actually working).
However, those same tech events were even then littered with "faux press" already--guys who showed up with huge empty duffel bags for the sole purpose of hoarding all of the free crap that they could grab, like T-shirts, software samples, etc. It made it almost impossible to get a legit review copy of anything, be it a book or a software title, if you got there past the first open hour, because the grabbers had already been through.
There was a whole sub-tribe of folks who I ran into for years who did nothing at trade shows and industry events other than get drunk, eat as much food as possible in the press room, and take as much free crap as they could carry.
ON THE OTHER HAND.....
I know lots of very good and legit bloggers and photgraphers who were shut out of events precisely due to lack of previous "paper" published work or byline in-hand. It seemed very arbitrary.
The grabbers always made it in, but a lot of honest folks trying to make a start for themselves got shut out.
I don't know what the legality of a two-tier press pass system would be, but it would be nice if there was some kind of intermediate "apprentice" pass available for just-starters. If they get a positive follow-up from an event organizer X number of times, they could "graduate" to a full pass. If they're not grabbers or bullshit artists, then they wouldn't mind giving a real URL and a real name for contact purposes.
Just a thought and my 2c.
Been playing since Beta, and was also frustrated by the initial crashes and lags. However, I stuck with it, and it's been very much worth it. I currently have 3 toons going--a 65 DT, 45ish HoX and a 30-something Ranger. I play on a PvE server, but still interact a lot with my guild. Major bugs to grouping and much of the lagginess seems fixed.
I tried the DX10 but wound up sticking with 9 for now; the graphics are still fantastic and drop-dead gorgeous.
I would urge anyone who dropped this game after the first 3 months to give it another go--it's improved for the better and I can't wait to see whatever else Funcom has in store for us.
Also--re Hellgate London--that was my favorite game before Conan, but that game died for me the second that they started whispering that they would go offline At Any Second...for months. Why level characters when you may never get to finish the game?
Funcom really turned around a rocky launch into something fun, big, and great.
Or Hitachi (google Hitachi Magic Wand...)
*sound of canned laughter*
He's here all week, folks, don't forget to tip your server! Try the fish!
Seriously, if the Russian thug-ernment is behind these asswipes, what makes you think they'll face any consequences?