Apprentice and Gooey Rant 

I wasnít sure where to send this. You can post it if you want but mainly itís just a really long description of why Apprentice is Okay, and why Gooey is definitely NOT okay. Itís a plea to you guys at The Pojo to find a better forum, itís rant, itís an argument, and itís pretty darn long! About a month ago, I found the Pojoís Online TCG League. I thought it was worth a try since my sister is famous for her reluctance to play the card game! (Iíve resorted to building decks FOR her and bribing her with "Iíll do the dishes for you if...") You download two simple programs, Apprentice and Gooey, and a nice little patch because Apprentice was intended for Magic: The Gathering. Really nifty.

Then I actually got on Gooey. (Iíll complain about gooey & potential cures a bit further down).

Basically this part is just a summary of some of the Good and Bad points of playing the card game online as it is now.


Apprentice with the patch gives you access to all of the available cards. The old patch goes up to Team Rocket and the new patch goes up to Gym Leaders & Promotional cards. This means you can build your "dream" decks without having to buy gobs of booster packs and trade away sentimental cards, or wait for the cards to actually be released! Obviously, Raindance and Haymaker variants dominate this forum, but Iíve seen some pretty original ideas.


People in countries without much access to the Pokťmon, or in areas where there are no tournaments/people who play have a chance to test vague ideas they come up with but couldnít find opponents.


The internet is a faceless microcosm (small world). In other words, youíve got representatives from a good portion of the world, a good portion of the age range, and a good portion of income types (within certain limits though). This means you can test your deck against a wide vareity of people, from college students to middle-schoolers to Pokť-Moms and Dads.


Online playtesting against real people can help you tweak a decent deck you have in real life into a tourney-worthy deck. It can show you what cards you need without having to guess at those cards. It is really annoying when you play a test deck in real life and decide that you probably need a scoop up. Then you go and trade a few rares for a few Scoop Ups... then realize what you *really* needed was a Mr. Fuji! Those are some nice "good" points about using Apprentice. A lot of benefits. But letís balance that with the "other side."


Apprentice was designed for Magic: the Gathering. This makes the format a bit different and very confusing to the average Pokemon player who never played Magic. I played maybe five games of Magic total against my sister, so I had a slight (needleís width) advantage when it came to figuring out Apprentice. I was still totally baffled in some respects. This is not too bad though; once you get the hang of it, itís not hard at all.


Everyone makes their dream decks. This can be bad for the average player whose dream deck focuses on Slowbroís "Strange Behavior" (strange people, strange behavior... *shrug*). However, a lot of contemporary playerís dream decks can be figured out in two guesses. Haymaker or Raindance. Even I tried my hand at making a Raindance variant when I got Apprentice. Never played it though. I did try a haymaker variant though, focusing more on disruption. It held its own against another playerís Raindance (especially with Aerodactyl) but I ran out of basics (poor Magmar). It was a fun game though!


Infantile players. Let me explain. Youíre on Gooey and meet a nice 13 year old boy (theyíre ALL 13-year-old boys it seems... at least 90%) who seems somewhat mature. He challenges you to a game and you accept. Heís got a "powered up" Mewtwo out pretty quickly, and you just got a Fossil Magmar out with 1 fire energy. You have been on apprentice for about a week longer than he, and youíve figured out the nifty trick "create card." On your turn you put another energy on Magmar and successfully poison Mewtwo. Tapping a card is one of the "standard" ways to indicate status change, but being absent minded, you decide to create a card. All you do is go to "Action," "Create Card," and type in "Poisoned" (or "confused" "paralyzed" "asleep") and if you want you can choose the background color. So you play "Poisoned" next to his Mewtwo, as a reminder to both of the players. All of a sudden, he ĎTAKESí control of the card and moves it all around the screen. He buries it, removes it from the game, brings it back, and you really canít do anything effective against him. Eventually he calms down, realizes that Mewtwo will survive at least two more turns, and creates his own version of "Poisoned" but it says "Iím sick of being POISOOOOOONNNED!" (most of which does not fit on the card but you get the idea) You roll your eyes and wish heíd get on with the game. Instead, he takes control of your magmar and puts it in his hand. Then he puts a card facedown where magmar was and keeps "peeking at facedown card" ... He thinks heís smart, but you know heís probably looking at his prizes. Finally in frustration you disconnect and add the personís Unique Name to your growing list of "Infantile Losers." Overall, Apprentice is a pretty decent program. Gooey, on the other hand...

Bad Bad BAD:

Now Iím going to rant about Gooey. This is going to take a long while. If you donít want to read the rant about gooey, just skip down to the next paragraph where I describe possible solutions Pojo can use! Gooey has many problems, one one of them being ABSOLUTELY NO CONTROL. I think fellow Gooey refugees can sympathize with the following phrases: Flooding Contests. Profanity Duels. Mass Private Messaging. Advertisements. People leaving and rejoining to dump "Ignore Completely." A lot of people on gooey have a bad habit of repeating everything they say. At least ten times. A majority of the people who frequent Pojoís Gooey Room are 13-year-old boys. Iíve met maybe five females there total. I assume that at least some of those "13-year-old boys" are girls or older people in disguise. Or even younger people. 13 is a nice "disguise" age, younger children make themselves "feel" older, older children make the others feel "more comfortable" about the age groups, and disgusting, lecherous old men gain the trust of unsuspecting kids. But that sort of stuff happens on most internet chat programs and itís hard to catch a person in a lie. (some dead giveaways are when a "13-year-old" says "I have to go to work" or "I had to change the tire") However, the use of 13 as the common "age" for pojoís gooey people means that in order to go with their disguise, older people are acting like idiots, younger people are using a lot of profanity to seem older (which is really self-defeating) and the real 13 year olds, seeing others their "own age" doing these things assume it is acceptable. I admit, my "Gooey" age is 145. Not a typo, one hundred, forty-five. But thatís to avoid those lecherous old men, part of my online persona, and basically to continue my belief in the old custom, "it is impolite to ask a ladyís age." Back to the point. There is no way for the responsible, mature visitors to keep the profanity and harassment away from the gooey room. Ignore Completely only lasts as long as it takes a person to switch webpages or disconnect and reconnect to Gooey. It is almost not worth it to hold the arrow over where the Infantile Loser will show up in the nicks list in order to immediately catch him when he rejoins. Those flood "contests" or infinite repeats slow down a lot of peoplesí computers, can cause processing problems, are really annoying, and overall NOT a way to endear oneís self to the community (there are a few people who donít even get chances with me anymore; if I see them theyíre ignored completely! And I used to be a tolerant person!) Since there is no way to disipline the Infantile Losers of the gooey room, I suggest that Pojo comes up with a more reasonable way to get people together for online games of cards. Pojo went in the right direction by pointing out the potential of Gooey, which could be good if the creators werenít aohell addicts... erm, excuse me. America OnLosers. Erm, excuse me again, thatís my subconscious overriding my attempts to represent "that online service" in a fair manner. Iíve had "that online service" for five years and Iíve hated every second of it. If the people who created Gooey ever come to their senses, theyíd come up with a way to make it so the creator(s) of webpages could enforce rules in their respective webpage gooey rooms. Until that happens, thereís a convenient and simple cure. IRC. IRC stands for Internet Relay Chat. Itís a nice little windows system, and several nice little programs give you access to it. mIRC, pIRCh, IRCle, and few others let you connect to various nets, i.e. The Undernet, Galaxy Net, Dalnet, Starnet, and a whole list of others. The true value of IRC is that you can create your own "Chat rooms," and with enough other people, get those chat rooms registered. Now you and those friends of yours are "Operators" in that "channel," with the power to make other people Operators, the power to kick people from the channel, to BAN people from the channel, and make it so nobody without the Ďpasswordí can join, nobody who was not invited can join, only a limited number of people can join, nobody but Operators (or "voiced" people) can speak aloud in the channel, and you can set it up so your ignores LAST. There are gobs of other nice features, but the main clincher is CONTROL. You explain the rules to people who go there, and they know the consequences if they flood or use profanity or act out of line. Bans can last as long as theyíre updated, but make sure the Operators have rules to follow as well (as in, sending E-mail around explaining who was banned, why, and for how long)

Let me note that most IRC programs require you to be online when you use them. I havenít met one yet that would connect to the internet for you. Also, I wrote most of the IRC ideas as help if you guys up there actually decide to dump Gooey as Pojoís official way of Getting Together For Apprentice Games. Because, honestly, as much as I despise AOL, Gooey actually sucks more.

RainStrom the Furry Blue Mock Dragon

Go ahead and flame me for it, but I hate gooey!


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