A group of adventures had been traveling for hours through a bleak swamp with only the monotony of the buzzing insects to break the quiet of the day. Then suddenly, from a secreted hole, a large troll lunges upon the group. The warrior steps forward, shield and sword ready; the wizard calls forth arcane rituals that open a cacophony of hellish light and energy; the cleric stepping back calls on the lofty lords of heaven to protect his friends. In a matter of seconds, the battle is over. With the cunning of a silver-furred fox, the thief drags a large chest from the secreted hole.
“You know the drill,” shrills the Paladin. “Step up to the box, eyes closed,” he sneers at the thief, “and pull out your loot.”
“Oh wow, I got three scrolls!” The wizard jumps up and down with glee.
“Woots! I got a +2 Sword of Spider slaying.” The leader hugs his new treasure with uncontrollable excitement.
“Mamma! Look at this new set of picks and tools,” the thief dances a merry jig.
The excitement was so contagious that everyone is laughing, singing, and carrying on with unbridled glee. Suddenly the warrior stops and looks over at the cleric.
“What did you get, Dagulas?”
“I got a rock….” The dejected cleric hangs his head in utter despair, smoothing out his ripped robes and looking sadly at his stick with a thorn stuck to its end, his grealy earned club of +2 worm slaying.
The group of adventurers look at each other, then fall to the ground laughing and jeering the poor cleric —
Once again, the Charlie Brown Effect had taken its toll.
I don’t know about all of you, but the pall of the Charlie Brown Effect has been clouding my stay in Everquest, Everquest II, Vanguard, World of Warcraft, Star Wars Galaxies, Dark Age of Camelot — you name the game, and that wretched affliction has followed me there.
I cannot count the number of times I have ended with a rock while everyone else around me has gained a bountiful treasure or a most valuable piece of loot. Constantly in Everquest II my poor warlock would roll a 2, 5, or 7 with the lotto treasure rolls. Hey! I am not saying that I only roll low, on the contrary, I even get 85s, 98s, even the glorious 99, but only after some slob around me rolls a 90, 99, or the ever glorious 100.
My characters are all cursed with this damn bad luck! Even when I finally roll a 100, it will be on an item that I can’t use and that some schlub next to me will ask in group, “Can I have that…thats an upgrade for me?”
What do you do then? Ultimately, you surrender the one item you gained all night, that might have garnered cash on the market. For what? For a sad next loot pick which comes up to be a Rusted Gnomish Gear, Scaly Ochre Zombie Skin, or the most treasured Sack of Tree Nitrite (otherwise known as a bag of shit). I cannot count the number of times I have had to part with the single treasure for the night for some worthless bauble that is even beneath me from selling to the NPC tool that sells Torches, Stale Pond Water, and Six-Week Old Bread. I have also had the opportunity to see a Warlock specific Master spell drop, lose the roll, then meet with utter silence from the group when I ask for it. Plodding and prodding the schlemiel who won the roll only ends with him turning the tables on me and making me look like a miserly greedy SOB.
For the past several years I have sent petition after petition, bug report after bug report on the fallacy that the Lotto system in Everquest 2 is fair, equatable, or to say the least… even random. I have seen it time and time again, one guy in a pickup group winning loot after loot, time after time. Its not fair! Oh, the tragedy of this Charlie Brown Effect is unnerving.
What’s worse is that my cousin just started playing Everquest II and he has earned more platinum than I have in threee years of play. How, you ask, stunnned? On these Legends of Norrath booster packs that he seems to find like leaves on a tree. I kid you not, the guy has found five booster packs and a rare single card. The single earned him 5 platinum alone — I haven’t earned 5 plat in 6 months. Overall he has earned more than 30 platinum — horribly its all cash and all gained within a short order of business (I may have sold that much, but over the coarse of a year?!?).
Of course now the market is saturated on these booster packs so I will now doubt start finding a ton of the crap. He will start finding the Masters, the rare adepts, the unique magical items, and I will end up with a backpack full of worthless Legends of Norrath cards. I can see the writing on the wall.
I have grouped with him too, and its the same. I get the crap loot and he wins all the adepts and magical gear (this low end stuff sells well to transmuters). Then when I finally win something really cool, my packs are stuffed with low end crab meat, deer pelts, and bags of ALA “crap” and he wins by default. Gah! How much more can the Charlie Brown Effect.
Each night it seems like I am in a tragic replaying of Charlie Brown’s Halloween special. At the end of the night, I have a sack of rocks and everyone else brimming packs full of loot and magical trinkets.