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Bitch at Lum
I'm pretty much guaranteed not to answer, but it'll make you feel better.

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ELY'S AC COOL TO THE MAX BOARD (Asheron's Call and acid - mix well and stir)

You're probably already banned. Especially if you're French, the Pope, or Raph Koster.

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If I still played this game, I would probably have a wiseass comment to put here

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And they danced!

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Where LumCorp rules with an iron fist over the proles of Rubi-Ka

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I don't write web sites to bake bread, I write them to crush

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Because "Light Age of Camelot" sounded fruity

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You kids and your aliens today, bah.

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Because, admit it, everyone reading this site wants to do their own game. And better. With precasting. Biy0tch.

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Every so often a question will pop up, either in my mail, on the boards, or elsewhere, that makes me slap my head and tell myself "you know, you really should have a FAQ somewhere". My co-workers are used to me doing odd things such as slapping my head for no apparent reason, but it still hurts. Thus this FAQ, where I try to pre-emptively answer many of the questions that you the readers send in.

1: About Lum

Where did you come up with the name "Lum the Mad"?

"Lum" was the name of my evil-high-priest sometime-PK all-the-time-insane character in UO. When I started the website, since I was ranting about UO (neither EQ nor AC were out yet) and my character was a ranting idiot in game, it seemed appropriate to use that as an alias.

When I made the UO character I stole the name "Lum the Mad" from a 1st edition Dungeons and Dragons artifact ("The Infernal Machine of Lum the Mad" or something).

The name has no connection to the character in the anime series Urusei Yatsura; I had no idea there was an anime "Lum" until well after I began the site. Plus, I'm male and she's female.

Were you the Lum the Mad that PK'd me on Pacific? Did I really buy your characters off of eBay?

I no longer play any characters in any online game named "Lum the Mad". I've never sold any characters on eBay.

What do you do for a living?

I work for a large database company; my personal responsibilities include web server consulting, web-database interface programming and other n33t0-k33n0 internet stuph.

Contrary to popular rumor I do not work and never have worked in the game industry.

What online games do you play?

I've played both Ultima Online and Everquest on and off since they started. I tried Asheron's Call but stopped due to time constraints and lack of interest. I haven't decided yet whether I will be playing Shadowbane, Anarchy Online, or UWO:Origin, or some combination of the above. I suspect when the next generation of games comes out I will move to them since I enjoy bright and shiny things.

Truthfully I spend much more time working on this website than actually playing the games it covers.

How come you never answer my email?

I get anywhere from 50 to 200 emails a day from this site, depending on what stories are running. Unfortunately there is no chance I am ever answering that much email since if I did I wouldn't have time to do other things such as work, sleep and write for this site. I do read all your email, though.

If you wrote to tell me how much you enjoy the site, thank you.

If you wrote to tell me how much the site sucks, thank you.

If you wrote me a long opinion essay, please post it in the forums instead so others besides me can read it.

f you wrote me regarding a story idea or news that's breaking, chances are I'll follow up (either through mail for more information or doing my own followup work and posting it to the site). If I haven't followed up it's because I don't think it's newsworthy. Sorry.

(9/18) Did you create any websites before this one?

I used to design web sites professionally, however it was long enough ago that they're now all gone. I also maintained "Daggerweb", the main spoiler site for the incredibly ambitious/flawed Daggerfall CRPG. (That's gone, too - the Internet is a transient place.) Before the Internet exploded all over everyone I used to run a BBS which should probably count as a website.

In the UO world, before this site I created the "Yew Phoenix", a paper for the GL "Yewbie" RP community set up after the previous paper closed. It eventually morphed into the "Great Lakes Tribune". I eventually handed it off to Allen Grey, who also eventually handed it off and went on to bigger and better things.

Did you know there's this really insulting website/flash animation/whatever about you online?

Yes, I generally get someone "helpfully informing me" about these sites once or twice a week. My attitude is that if someone spent that much time and effort trying to insult me I must have done something right.

Are you REALLY a fat bastard like I read about online?

Not that it matters in the SLIGHTEST, but yes, I used to be. I've lost a significant amount of weight in the past three months, though. I think it was because I took stat loss. I will also helpfully point out that unlike most of the people who enjoy spreading these "rumors" I have no qualms about appearing in public.

God, I love you! I want to have your children! Marry me!

I'm already married. Happily. Really. And she has a big stick.

Are you in charge of #lummies, the IRC channel?

No. Contact deVoca if you have a problem. If you've been perma-banned, it was probably for a good reason. Note: being annoyingly stupid is a good reason.

But you were the one who banned me!

I probably banned you for being annoyingly stupid. See above.

But I want back in!

Tough. There's about 12 billion IRC channels on various networks. Pick another one.

(9/18) Where did you and your wife meet?

In real life. Believe it or not people do occasionally get together without the aid of computers now and then. She worked at a Best Buy, I stalked her and rearranged all the Windows 95 PCs to look like Macs (it was only 1995, so it was funny then). The rest is history. Just for the record, the dialogue of my proposal follows.

"So, um, er, y'wanna get married?" "Sure." "OK." "Kewl."

(9/18) How long have you been married?

Since 1996.

(9/18) Do you plan on spawning?

I refuse to believe someone actually asked this question. No, human beings do not have "spawn points". Well, they do, but, um, this is about to totally degenerate so I'll stop.

(9/18) Which staff members have you met in real life?

Most of them. I attend UO player luncheons in Austin on a regular basis (Texas being one state over so it's not quite as sad-assed as it sounds) so I meet most of the UO folks there. I met some of the UWO:Origin and Verant folks at E3. Surprisingly none of them wanted to kill me, except possibly for Brad McQuaid, who ran away in fear after I smacked him over the head with a Keith Parkinson poster.

What is LumCorp?

"LumCorp" is how I ironically refer sometimes to the writing collective that makes up the writers of this site. LumCorp is also a guild that plans to be in Anarchy Online. The two are not related save that the guild consists of message board habitues. I do not run LumCorp the guild, and probably do not run LumCorp the website writers either.

(9/18) "Writing collective"? What do you mean by that?

I certainly don't mean we all live together on a farm. Basically we cooperate on stories when it suits us, write independently when it suits us, share the proceeds of the site when it makes a profit, and generally do our thing. I don't see my role as Imperious Leader or anything, but more of an editor and guide (and usually I don't have to do either). Since my alias is at the top of the page I usually feel a bit responsible about things that get posted, but in general I don't dictate what can or cannot be written. Our writers can and do disagree about important issues (with Myschyf and Hedron in the same group that's probably an understatement).

(9/18) What ever happened to Great Bob?

Tyrant stole him from us, the bastard. Bob "Great Bob" Roland now works for OSI in customer service. We both decided that it would be inappropriate for him to continue being part of LumCorp while at OSI due to percieved/actual conflict of interest. We await the Showdown at the Austin Corral between him and Adrick with great interest.

(9/18) Why do people flame Myschyf all the time?

She's female and adult, they're male and adolescent. Best answer I can come up with on the spur of the moment. Another possibility is that they know she can beat them up.

2: About the website's design

What did you use to design the website?

What few graphics you see on the site were done with Photoshop. The HTML layout was designed using Dreamweaver and UltraEdit. (UltraEdit is exactly what I was looking for in a quick and dirty text editor - as low footprint as Notepad, with the ability to edit files remotely using FTP. Highly recommended.) The news is managed using an extremely hacked version of NewsPro. The author drank a great deal of Diet Coke during the process.

Where can I get the plugin for NewsPro that makes the seperate news story pages?

The addon I started with was npa_hqstatic. I've modified it quite a bit.

Where can I get the plugin for NewsPro that does the teasers that lead into the main story?

You can't. It's a hack I made for NewsPro, using a defined database field.

Where can I get the plugin for NewsPro that makes the link to a forum thread?

You can't. It's a defined database field for NewsPro; the updaters manually create the thread and paste the URL into a form field.

OK, so you did some hacks. Can I get THOSE?

No. For one thing, they suck. I'm working on a PHP-mySQL solution that mirrors NewsPro's functionality. Expect it to be released as GNU open source when I'm done. Don't expect it to be done any time soon.

God, your forums are crappy. Why did you quit using UBB?

Because UBB is an immense performance hog for sites that get the kind of traffic that this one does.

Well, why don't you use EZBoard then?

Because I don't like EZBoard. Call it Everquest-induced huge-icon-sig trauma.

I disagree, I think the new forums rock. Can I get my own?

We're currently using an unreleased beta of Cyboards. When they're done you can get a remotely hosted copy at Cyboards' main site. I don't think they will offer the new version for download.

How did you get hosted by XRGaming?

I asked.

Can I get hosted by XRGaming, too?

You can ask.

You sellout! You have ad banners!

Yep. We suck. Of course, if you want the ad banners to go away, you can always pay me $250 a month since that was what I was paying out of my own pocket for hosting before XRGaming.

Yeah, well, I bet you're getting rich off all those ad banners, aren't you?

Not quite. We're paid a certain amount per thousand "ad impressions" (or visits). This is then split 6 ways amongst the LtM site writers. When all is said and done it pays for a nice night out but isn't enough for a day job (unless you live in a box or something).

I also believe that being paid for your writing is important, no matter how little you are paid.

Didn't you used to be hosted by XRGaming, but left?

Yes. We left XRGaming because of the problems they were having with UGO (veteran visitors may remember ad banners that took five minutes to load, for example). While we were in our wanderings in the wilderness, XRGaming moved off of UGO. Problem solved.

3: About the website's content

What's this website about?

We comment on, satirize and occasionally have non-commenting non-satirical news about the massively multplayer online games world.

I began the site because I was fascinated by the communities behind the game - the guilds, the volunteers, the class-based and skill-based associations - and how they interacted. Thus, you'll see many more stories about, say, what stupid thing one guild did outside the game than an analysis of some arcane game mechanics (although we occasionally do that as well).

The site is frequently profane, often rude, many times humorous, and hopefully always interesting. We make no pretensions to objectivity whatsoever and try to be as independent a voice as possible.

How can you call yourself a news site when you are so obviously biased for/against X?

Well, we never called ourselves a news site, skippy. If you're looking for news sites we have this big black list of links on almost every page, I'm sure you can find a "news site" there more to your liking. We comment on the news, we don't report it. The fact that sometimes the first you see of a news story is our commentary on it is more a failure of those "news sites", not any attempt by us to "rise to their level".

Don't you just try to stir up controversy to generate hits so you make more money?

Thanks for calling me a corrupt scandalmonger. No, we don't calculate how much traffic a given "scandal" will generate before writing about it. Believe it or not, our opinions are our own and do actually exist. In any event if I were just out to make money I would have made a pr0n site.

Can I submit a story for your website?

We don't take unsolicited stories except for very rare occasions. If you have something to write about, post it on the forums and lots of folks will read and comment.

Can I become one of your updaters?

No. When we need to expand our writing staff, I try to pick the best writers from the community. They didn't come to me and ask for the job (and most of them were mortified that I asked them). I think it makes for better writers than the trap so many websites fall in of "Hi! I'm your new updater and I'm going to post 90 times a day about crap you don't care about!". This has nothing to do with your writing ability, which may be in fact quite good. Post often on these forums and other community forums and when the time comes for more writers, and you're good enough, we'll talk.

Elitist? Of course. It's my site, though. Whatcha gonna do. If all else fails, make your own site. Plenty do. Some of them are pretty good.

Why don't you ever do any stories about game X?

Generally we try to stay with games that already have an established community. In almost every case this means a game that's been released. (Shadowbane is an exception, for many reasons, but mainly because its target audience feels disenfranchised from other games.) While games in development often have a loudly active community trying to influence its development, it's not nearly the same as the communities of games that are actively running.

I heard you hated Asheron's Call. What's up with that?

I don't hate Asheron's Call. It didn't strike me as particularly interesting; however I've come to the conclusion that this has more to do with me and less to do with the game. Some people just don't like some games. Asheron's Call has a very active community, a large and dynamic world, and a developer that listens and responds to its users. Several writers for LtM do play Asheron's Call regularly now and you should expect more coverage of AC as time progresses.

I heard you hated Horizons. What's up with that?

I don't hate Horizons. I've never seen Horizons (and neither has anyone else outside of Artifact Entertainment). I expressed my opinion in IRC once that Horizons was vaporware that would never see release. Some very vocal members of the Horizons community took offense to that. *shrug* If I'm proven wrong, it won't be the first time by any stretch of the imagination.

I heard you hated Everquest. What's up with that?

I don't hate Everquest. In fact at the moment it's the game I can be found in most often. I have some very strong opinions about the game, as do most longtime players. You can read more about them on the website, and further down this list in the Everquest section.

(9/18) What is the "Happy Fun Ball" referred to at the bottom of the page?

It's from a Saturday Night Live parody. Here's the complete text if you're interested (or if you're not)

Hey KIDS! Here's the Happy FUN BALL! only $14.95! Warning: Pregnant women, the elderly and children under 10 should avoid prolonged exposure to Happy Fun Ball. Caution: Happy Fun Ball may suddenly accelerate to dangerous speeds. Happy Fun Ball contains a liquid core, which, if exposed due to rupture, should not be touched, inhaled, or looked at. Do not use Happy Fun Ball on concrete. Discontinue use of Happy Fun Ball if any of the following occurs: itching, vertigo, dizziness, tingling in extremities, loss of balance or coordination, slurred speech, temporary blindness, profuse sweating, or heart palpitations. If Happy Fun Ball begins to smoke, get away immediately. Seek shelter and cover head. Happy Fun Ball may stick to certain types of skin. When not in use, Happy Fun Ball should be returned to its special container and kept under refrigeration. Failure to do so relieves the makers of Happy Fun Ball, Wacky Products Incorporated, and its parent company Global Chemical Unlimited, of any and all liability. Ingredients of Happy Fun Ball include an unknown glowing substance which fell to Earth, presumably from outer space. Happy Fun Ball has been shipped to our troops in Saudi Arabia and is also being dropped by our warplanes on Iraq. Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball. Happy Fun Ball comes with a lifetime guarantee. Happy Fun Ball - ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES!

(9/18) Why isn't it called "The Rantings of Myschyf the Mad"?

Because we live in a patriarchy.

4: About Ultima Online

Didn't you quit UO?


Didn't you just re-activate your account?


What's up with that?

I quit UO because my friends had all quit and I was spending zero time in game (in fact, my houses on GL had decayed if that tells you anything). I decided that since I wasn't actually playing the game, and had lost all my property within it, that I should probably stop paying for it. I publicized my decision since many folks (most of whom play Asheron's Call) think that sort of thing is relevant.

I restarted my UO account because I was interested in the work that the new dev team is implementing and wanted to see it for myself.

Were you a PK?

On occasion I killed people who probably did not want to be killed.

So you were a PK.

I didn't say that.

Were you a roleplayer?

I had a character in game that I stuck to as much as possible.

So you were a roleplayer.

I didn't say that.


That I find the "roleplayer/PK" conflict in UO to be brain-shatteringly idiotic and want no part of it, mainly. I killed people in game, I role-played in game. The two are not mutually exclusive. In fact to truly roleplay in UO's violent milieu, you will probably have to kill someone at some point.

You can find a typical rant of mine about the roleplayer/PKer war here. A somewhat overly optimistic in hindsight appraisal of Trammel and the Faction system's effect on reds you may find here. Some thoughts on evil in gaming that pissed a lot of folks off you can find here.

Stat loss. Pro or con.



It works. It sucks, but it works. With stat loss in place, PKs are no longer the scourge of the earth that they were in UO's first two years. Those PKs who work within the stat loss system have my respect. Those notos, blockers and looters who get around the stat loss system have my scorn.

My take on stat loss is in more detail here. A funny dialog with the ultra-advocate of no-stat-loss and now OSI employee Adrick is here.

What's your take on Trammel?

My review of UO:Renaissance is here. I have little to add save that Khaldun's placement in Felucca only shows the Dev Team is aware of Trammel's risk/reward being seriously off-kilter. Why I think the Trammel approach is basically correct and PKers should be kept apart from other players is here.

What's your take on the faction system?

Along with the faction system, my take on it is coming soon. Briefly, it's good for pvpers, and bad that OSI decided to surrender to the NIMBY "roleplayers" (NIMBY - not in my backyard) and not allow factions to have any meaning beyond its participants. Since the system is still being worked on I don't think I'll finish my rant on the subject until it's released.

Will you be in the faction system?

Sure. I reactivated my UO account for it, actually.

Which faction will you be in?

I don't know.

(9/18) What the hell is "precasting" and why do people demand that it be brought back?

"Precasting" was the act of casting a heavy damage spell, then instead of targeting the spell, readying a weapon, then timing your attack so that the first hit with a weapon (usually a halberd, the hardest hitting melee weapon) and the spell hit simultaneously. If done correctly this could produce a one-hit kill or close to it. Despite being a bug, it was seen as one of the few ways to actually get a clean kill in UO against experienced opponents by many PvP players and a test of skill that should not have been removed from the game.

My guild was banned. Can you do something about it?

Probably not. I'm firmly in favor of Tyrant's efforts to clean up UO. His methods are draconian, brutal, and effective. He makes the trains run on time, too!

Why don't you ever publish exploits for UO?

Because exploits are bad, mmmkay?

(9/18) I heard LadyMOI was totally hot! You got any pictures of her?

*sigh* Unfortunately I probably bear some responsibility for The Unfortunate Sexual Objectification of Carly Staehlin, UO's producer (not sure if she still goes by LadyMOI or not), thanks to my slavering over her repeatedly when the site began. (What no one realizes was that I wasn't drooling because she was attractive, but because she was from OSI and acknowledged the site existed. Come to think it, that probably sounds even more sad-assed. Never mind.) There are pictures of the woman online here and here. Knock thyself out and remember that in Texas there are many reasons to shoot someone legally if you get too frisky.

5: About Everquest

Did you REALLY call for Gordon "Abashi" Wrinn to be fired?

Not quite. I did say recently he wasn't doing too well in his current position.

Did John Smedley REALLY threaten to sue you once?

Yes. That being said, he was in the right and I deserved it. I cancelled my EQ account in a fit of pique but restored it shamefacedly a few months later. We all make mistakes, I make some more than most.

If you don't feel like wading through that archive link, someone sent me a copy of the EQ Guide Manual which I posted since it was s00pa s33krit. Smedley emailed me shortly thereafter asking me to take it down. When I refused he quit asking and threatened to unleash the Lawyers of Hell. I then complied.

Did your wife REALLY get a GM fired?

No. She was the unwitting target of GM abuse; shortly thereafter she talked to the GM about it, and published the talk on our site. Soon afterwards the GM was reassigned (not fired). In any event, I strongly doubt that our website had anything to do with it since Verant doesn't really take their customer service guidelines from our site (see: Gordon Wrinn).

However that didn't stop a lot of that GM's friends from being mindnumbingly abusive to my wife for months thereafter. I look forward to meeting some of them at an EQ gathering later, and hope appreciative readers will bail me out of jail shortly thereafter.

So, um, I guess you really hate Everquest, then?

No. It's not the penultimate be-all end-all of MMORPGs, but it does what it does reasonably well. See here for my review of the Kunark expansion and here for my suggested "fixes" to EQ.

What characters do you play, on what servers?

I don't want to get too specific since as the Hakosako incident shows there are people who dont wike widdle Wum and it could affect my game play. I have characters on Veeshan, Erollisi Marr, and most recently on Tallon Zek. My highest level characters are a gnome necromancer, an iksar monk, and a barbarian shaman. None of these characters are over 35th level.

Do you read/post on Whineplay/Flameplay/official EQ board?

Not on any regular basis. There is far too much traffic there for any sane human to follow, for one thing. For another thing, the attitude of folks both pro- and anti-Verant there has convinced me that, given enough time, Everquest will actually restore your virginity.

What connection did/do you have to "Tweety", the guide who posted anonymous rants and was banned for it?

I was in her guild on Erollisi Marr and knew who she was. When she was banned a good part of our guild quit EQ in disgust.

Did I miss a question? Email me. Last updated 9/17/00


"The Rantings of Lum the Mad" is a LumCorp™ publication. You may contact the individual members of the LumCorp™ Collective as follows:

Lum the Mad: [email protected]
Arcadian Del Sol: [email protected]
Delusion: [email protected]
Hedron: [email protected]
Lietgardis: [email protected]
Myschyf: [email protected]

Copyright © 2000 LumCorp™, a very special division of AOL-Time Warner.
All material on this site is for entertainment purposes only. Do not taunt the Happy Fun Ball. Not for resale on eBay. Void, except where prohibited. Not available in Canada.