05/13/99 9:00 AM NOT UO KEEPING IT REAL WID DA H-DOG

Working on a massive update this morning (remember that result of thinkin' about community I keep referring to? this is it.). In the meantime, the stone cold homie in Accountz Receevable, Herbert W. Kornfeld, has posted Tha Autobiography of Herbert K. That should keep you busy.

05/12/99 3:00 PM LUM MAKES DISCUSSION BOARD GO BOOM, SENITH MAKES OTHER DISCUSSION BOARD GO BANG

I completely destroyed the message board because I wanted to try something new. People everywhere are crying in agony at having to figure out something new. Lord Luker, when reached for comment, said "Huh? Do you want to join my guild?" Senith, when reached for comment, called Faceless a dirty paradigm. In case you want to read more from everyone's favorite ex-counselor with a god complex, read on.

05/11/99 5:00 PM I'M REALLY LEAVING THIS TIME! I MEAN IT! HONEST!

Everyone's favorite lovable slacker of a bard, Samwise, writes:

Well, I was expecting this as well.

If my comments seemed hypocritical it's because they are in many ways. I did want OSI to get involved and start taking control, and I am bitching at them now that they are. However, I really feel they went from one extreme to the other. Before, no action was taken when it was obivious it was needed (GM's were visible and present to witness the acts). Now, it seems that people are getting banned due to miscommunications and for not wanting to play 24/7 to make a decent blacksmith. Just because I bitch one day that we need more police officers and then bitch the next that Rodney King was a victim of police brutality..does that make me a hypocrite? hmm..that's something to ponder at least.

As for my cartoon, until I start charging people 10 dollars a month to read the strip, then take applications for viewers to take turns drawing it, I don't see how I'm being hypocritical in that vein . I work for a living and I do the cartoon on the side. I love it and I get to it when I can. My audience is very important to me and I try to give them good work as often as I can. If you want to see PvP on a more regular basis, email mpog and ask them to pay me more.

05/11/99 4:30 PM EXPLOITING WILL RESULT IN FAILURE OF THE COURSE

I was sent this. While it's pretty funny, it also serves as an excellent lead in for my Next Big Rant. So see if you can answer some basic questions about our little thingamabobber of a community.  

WESTERN (ONLINE) CIVILIZATION MID-TERM:

I: (SIXTY POINTS)

a) Define the governmental, societal, and economic models which most closely match the community of Origin's Ultima Online. 

b) Explain in essay form the role in these models of the following:  OSI Management, OSI Employees, Game Volunteers (with and without disciplinary power), and Players.  Feel free to subdivide any of the preceding into subgroups as needed.

c) From the preceding explanations, expound in the form of your choice on whether the evolution so far of this community falls within predictable bounds and what should be expected for the future.

II: (THIRTY-TWO POINTS)

a)  What media sources monitor and shape this online community and what are their relative strengths and weaknesses?

b) Explain in essay form how the (1) lack of governmental or societal control of these media source and (2) the empowerment within the community and media of a previously disenfranchised class (children/teens) affects the evolution of the community.

III: (EIGHT POINTS)

a) Name the eight virtues of Sosaria

b) Explain what the hell happened to them within each of the groups listed in item Ib.

EXTRA CREDIT:

1: COMPARITIVE STUDIES

Compare and contrast items Ia and Ic above with the community of Everquest.

2: IRONY

Explain the irony in the following two situations:

a) Gamemaster policy on exploits and abuse changes in part due to frequent complaints their customer base as represented by "bitch" websites.  When they begin implementing their new policies they are attacked by the same people that asked for change as being inconsistent and hypocritical for changing. 

b) A cartoonist takes a good deal of time over the past to complain at length about the non-responsiveness of GMs.  He still has last Wednesday's cartoon (a cheap shot at those same folks) on his site which is supposed to be updated M-W-F.

05/11/99 1:30 PM GET YOUR HOURLY DOSE OF LUM AND NEVER VISIT THIS SAD ASS WEB SITE AGAIN

In a fit of rampant hubris, I've set up a mailing list so you junkies can get your lumfix instantly instead of sitting there wondering "has he updated again yet? should I go check? or should I just GO GET A GODDAM LIFE? naw, I'll reload the page." So this conundrum doesn't happen to YOU, click here.

05/11/99 11:30 AM WELL YOU KNOW, FOR STARTERS MY WIFE WOULD GET REALLY, REALLY PISSED

Saw this on another web site:

Lum the Mad - Another site I read daily when it's worth reading. But all I see, as of late is the constant talk about Lady Moi, or DSM Moi, or Spin Dragon, or whatever. Man, you remind me of this guy in high school who talked about one girl all day then didn't have the nerve to say hi. To be absolutely honest, it seems like you have this really big crush on her. I mean, come on. You're like a 5th grader who calls the girl he likes the most names. My advice to you on the matter: either call and ask her out on a date or let it go. That's all I got to say about that.

I call Dr. TwisTer nasty names all the time too, and I'm not asking him out either.

05/11/99 9:30 AM NEWSFLASH: DR TWISTER NOT ACTUALLY AN OSI EMPLOYEE, DOES NOT CREATE HIS OWN BUGS

Um, all I got to say on this one is that some folks are REALLY unclear on the concept.

05/11/99 9:00 AM OSI TO MINERS: FUCK OFF AND DIE

OK, for all of you who were hoping against hope that OSI's new "I got banning slips and I'm gonna use 'em" policy was only targeted at twinks, here's a note from someone who was banned. For using UOA. To mine. With no warning. At 04:30 AM. Here's the love note explaining what happened.

Hey GMs, I mine using UOA too. I'm on Sonoma, my miner's name is Miyamoto, and you can find me leapfrogging ore around Minoc cause I'm too cheap to buy a mining shack. COME AND GET ME, COPPERS!

(By the way, in case your reading comprehension skills are low, this pisses me off.)

05/11/99 7:00 AM LUM STAGGERS BLEARILY OUT OF BED TO WRESTLE WITH HIS JIMINY CRICKET

Fightin'Midget, Vampyress' rabid blood slave, posted this on the message base:

The big problem comes because OSI does not discuss bannings(and pretty rightly so). The players banned are not under the same constraint. They can paint the picture of the banning any way they choose, provide scant screenshots of a few words spoken out of context of mistakenly, and then claim that the whole system is out to get them because they are "innocent victims, coincidentally *roleplaying* evil murderous characters."

Twink sights like Dr. Twisters, and even fine upstanding sights like this one (there, happy Lum? Don't boot me), discover these lop sided stories, posted on message boards and the like. Maybe they, like Lum, endure days of mental and spiritual agony, wrestling with their Jimminy Crickets over whether the information is justified... whether it merits the risks of posting... how it will effect the game as a whole.

More likely they, like Dr. Twister, simply post the message with big big Fonts.

Other twinks, emboldened (not sure that's a word, but I've been up for many many hours) by this move, post similar lopsided tales as to how their innocent characters, N166aZB1tChD13z, and j00aHo3 were horribly thrust from their delicately built virtual empires by the eeveel GM's. Thus the problem is presented. We have the honest-to-God-Never-Tell-A-Lie words of people like k1LLj00aLLbAAztArdS j00aHo3 and N166aZB1tChD13z screaming into that empty void left by OSI's silence, and thus we percieve their version of events to be the truth. OSI is unable to respond to these accusations on a detailed level simply because their role as provider of our online service constrains them from doing so. They can only offer blanket assurances as to how they proceed about banning, and perhaps a small detail about this particular case or two.

OK. I can address that a little. I trust NO ONE. Not Twister, not all the people writing me that the evil GMs banned them, hell, not even LadyMOI, even if she *was* scanned in by Lord British's new Virtua Reality machine as the model for the female Avatar in Ultima 9: Someday We'll Get The Damn Thing Out The Door. I'm a cynical bastard. A LOT of people have lied to me in the long and twisted struggle that makes up my life history. As such I am uniquely suited, I think, to serve as some kind of filter here.

I've always intended lum.webtoys.net to be a kind of voice for the disenfranchised people in UO - those who aren't twink miner killer exploiters, those who aren't Upstanding Pillars Of The UO Community Who Are Really Seers Or SRCs Or Something, just ordinary players who occasionally get fed up with the mismanagement of OSI *and* the parade of glorious humanity we see in game. As such I'm pretty liberal with posting emails I get, from every perspective.

That being said, if someone accuses OSI of some sort of mischief, I generally ask for some backup. Screenshots preferably. Coming from a graphic designer background, I can tell if a screenshot's been photoshopped. Pictures taken on UOX shards are harder to detect but not impossible. It's not 100% foolproof, but it's a good twink filter.

Unless something is just amusing, in which case I post it anyway, because I'm sick wid it.

05/10/99 11:00 PM LOYAL READERS EMAIL LUM, RELIEVE HIM OF THE RESPONSIBILITY OF ACTUALLY WRITING ORIGINAL CONTENT

From lum.webtoys.net's Equal Time For People Who Dislike Samwise Division comes this:

I have to protest strongly, that you would allow Sam to use you, and your board to make individuals like myself look like "Narcs". Specifically the comment about Sam saying that he is quitting UO because of some unfounded fear that people that have a hard on for him would stoop low enough to turn him in to a GM for macroing. That fact is that when I played UO, I myself used UOA.

You might not deem his words too damning but, I really resent the implications that it implied.

Thank you for your time and consideration
Ying

And lum.webtoys.net's Equal Time For Noto PKs Who Piss Off GMs Division produced this entry:

Im friends with Townsend, the guy who wrote that letter about the noto-pking incident that you linked to from Dr T. The story is true, we hang out at the terathan keep all day killing greys. He is a bard and provokes mage's blades onto them turning them grey, and then we kill them. We dont use exploits or anything, we just do it alot. And I mean alot.

If you go to Baja, and go to t2a and ask about Townsend, even money says that hes killed one of the people at the bank. Probably alot more of them. The problem is that these people that he kills constantly page GMs about him. Since he kills the same people over and over ( the 30 or 40 people who regualarly go to the terathan keep and havnt learned not to blade around us yet) he gets alot of pages about him. They just cant take care of themselves and dont want to accept responsibility for their actions so they want to have the GMs handel them for them. Ironwill actually took my friend and told him that he would be banned if he didnt change his playing style ( this is the opposite of what MOI told you...Ill see if my friend has shots of his encounter...Im sure he does)

Here is another one...another of my guildmates...just last night got taken to jail here is his story from our guilds messageboard. Our guild is a baja guild of noto pks, order fighters and house looters ( we looted about half the homes on baja at one time ) Here is what our member, Pyropete had to say :

I got sent to jail too because I was in town fighting some TPK or whatever.. Jopok. I forget, but thats not the issue.. I was fighting with some guy, and I got kinda close to the other orange.. Well anyways he wasnt wearing armour, and I knew right off he was in the wrong part of town not to be wearing any armour so I strayed off the guy I was on, and attacked him. Well since the other guy was a townie he couldnt do a thing to protect his friend that had crashed. Long story short, he was trying to loot his friend, and I killed him too. So I got a crashed mage, and a townie all in one fell swoop. About 10 minutes later Im in my house iding some stuff and putting away the 100 of each regent I collected from the mage. (too bad there were no keys and runes) Well, I got put in jail as I was putting away regents and a gm said that he didnt like the way we played. I wasnt thinking about getting screenshots *damn*. I was really pissed. I asked what I did, and he said I did something to make 5 people call a gm on me. I told him that I killed a couple people in Trinsic, and he asked how 1 person could kill 2. Well I said one was a mage, and he went down fast. I didnt mention he was crashed, because im sure they didnt. Well, he said I needed to change my "style of play".. What a load of horse shit. but fuck them right?

Again, without screenshots, this is all hearsay. If a GM says something weirdo, hit print screen and send it to the Lummster for all to see.

And finally, the Make Lum Physically Ill Division drew forth and hocked this up:

Actually, why haven't you featured his [Lord Lukers'] picture? you could make it your fresh update button ala-oldmanmurray & bitchX.

Will everyone who wants to see Luker's picture again raise their hand. Anyone? Anyone at all? No, Mrs. Luker, you don't count. Thank you, drive safely.

05/10/99 7:00 PM THE MINISTRY OF INFORMATION (CARLY DIVISION) WEIGHS IN

LadyMOI, who obviously is putting in some late hours today, had this to say...

Here's a comment from us :) -

1. GMs do not ban people on the word of a group alone.

2. GMs do investigate players who are complained about frequently.

3. The GM in this scenario chose poor words to try to describe the situation in this call. Essentially, the information is correct. And it was true that the player was suspected of harassment (playing in a style unbecoming a UO'r). However, during the course of this call, the GM chose poor words in saying that: even if a player is not cheating, if other players complain about him, he will have to change his playing style or be banned.

There are at least two things a GM might say in this kind of call. They are as follows:

One better word choice might have been: something about how this person plays is causing an anomoly that is suspiciously like those created by people who cheat, and that both the player and OSI need to investigate what it is in order to make it stop.

Or another, appropriate to this particular case: the player is engaging in behavior that could be construed as harassment. Examples of harassment could include: Hunting down the same person over and over and over again in order to be malicious. Using racial slurs or strong vulgarity during the kill could also be considered harassment. If this is witnessed by the GM while investigating the player, then a banning may occur.

4. We do not ban for player killing, but we do ban for harassment. Unfortunately, harassment often follows, or preceeds, player killing. GMs are trained to tell the player that player killing is legal, but that they should watch their verbal behavior both before and after player killing to avoid harassment charges.

5. In this situation, the call should have been turned over to a lead, but wasn't. This was a mistake on the GMs part. The GMs, at times, feel that they can answer more delicate calls which should be escalated. They are being trained to better recognize the difference.

In short, we don't ban one person to make 20 people happy if the only evidence is the word of 20 people. All situations are investigated. If we actually did what that implies, then any guild could just as easily gang up on "nice folks" and cry foul, getting the "nice folks" banned. Without enough evidence, OSI doesn't ban.

This situation really has been blown out of proportion, but I hope that this will help calm the waters a bit. I understand that another GM spent quite a bit of time trying to talk to this player to explain this, but that the player wasn't interested in any conversation, only in proving that "Origin does not like pks". If Origin were that against Pkilling, we would remove it from our game totally.

-Carly
LadyMOI

I was under the impression that many GMs, not just Jakarta, were recently telling players the "we'll ban 1 player to keep 20 happy" line. This may well be the wrong impression, as the only confirmation I've found have been those screenshots. If anyone has any, preferably screenshots, logs if not, of interactions with GMs that echoed this line, especially after today, send them in.

Again, I'm still thinkin' (and actually, was hoping to actually play UO the Game as opposed to UO the Metagame and Website tonight). I'll probably have some more musings on the subject tomorrow.

05/10/99 6:30 PM SOME COMMENTS ON TODAY'S STORIES

A couple of stories, posted without comment. Like I said, I'm still thinkin'. But here's what a couple of you who already finished thinking thought.

---

Am I the only one who LIKED the fact that UO had it's own social dynamic without a bunch of GMs playing preschool teacher? Am I the only one who LIKED the feeling of righteousness or vengance? Am I the only one who DOESN'T want UO to turn into Lord Luker's Vision of a Better Tommorow?

What the hell ever happened to getting a bunch of folks together and PROTECTING an area against reds/greys/noto PKs/whatever? Anyone remember these people called ANTIS? Instead of asking your friends and pals to help you in a dungeon against a red or three, now it's "Page a GM and tell him the red's playing style smacks of anti-social lameness" as means of protecting yourself?

Forgive me, but I feel compelled to utter the most crystal-clear of three letter mantras: WTF?

Who knows. I suppose with all this, MOI will come out with a nice happy shiny fluff piece stating that "no, you can't get anyone banned by telling your guild to page a GM and say his playing style is un-nice, now please keep paying us ten dollars a month, LB's escape tunnel isn't finished." But I get this feeling it won't help much.

---

Just finished reading the Samwise rant for today. Just wanted to say how much I agree with him. Im not a "famous" player in UO like him, i dont do UO cartoons or contribute much to the UO Community. I just play the game. Ive played since the beta and was on the servers day 1 of the final. Ive also used UOAssist since I first heard about it way back when Designer Dragon was singing its praises.

During my days in UO Ive done pretty much everything, been the roleplayer, the guild master, did the PvP thing, the order/chaos thing, etc, etc. Mostly these days Ive been playing a murderer character. I dont harrass anyone, I just kill people. So as you can see, to play my character I do two things which OSI doesnt approve of; i use UOA and I macro when I die. Im sure its only a matter of time before Im banned due to a group of bitter victims not liking my "play style". When the time comes Ill fire off a nasty letter to OSI, give them the virtual finger and go out and buy EQ too. Screw em.

05/10/99 1:30 PM REQUIEM FOR A BARD

Received from Samwise the Bard:

I am an active seer.

heh, nah...I'm just fucking with you...I'm not a seer. At one time I did get sponsored to be a seer but they didn't want me. Something about me being a total asshole and spouting my mouth off all the time. The point is that I would have made a TERRIBLE seer and it's for the best that my application got filed where it did. Had I been accepted, I would have only been adding to an already huge problem.

When I first quit UO, I did so over what I felt to be inaction on the side of the SUPPORT GM staff. At the time, a budding GM Ironwill was sitting by and idly watching the very first player run establishment get the very first a$$rape. There were no guidelines to prevent this, no magical policies in place, no LadyMOI to smooth things over the next day...Just an asshole by the name of The Great Lord Willie Nelson, three or four kick ass exploits, and one GM with his hands tied. At one point, Ironwill actually tried to solve the problem by spawning Air Elementals to run off the PKs. What else could he do? Livid, I made a public spectacle, damned them all, and canceled my account. 

Now I look out over Britannia, turn to my online friends and say..."It is time." Samwise is leaving Ultima Online. My account is going to remain active for a while, as I have a lot of assets to distribute out amongst the deserving. But I stopped playing a week ago and I'm not going back. 

Once again that wascaly GM Support staff has been a huge catalyst in my departure. Ladies and Gentlemen, I am a card carrying member of the UOAssist fan club. The first time I got to actually SEE my base skill points and that slick interface counted my reagents, I knew there was no going back. The only reason UOassist has not gone away is because Tug is an older guy who can't be bought with a dazzling counselorship and or seership, which I commend. That said, the new policy on unattended macroing, and the Gestapo "who's hiding a Jew" tactics of reporting cheaters, makes it impossible for me to continue to play without jeopardizing everything I've built. Everyday I'm online, I'm just begging for one of the many people who hate me (hello Iago...hello Ying) to all page the GM's (who mostly hate me) and finally do me in. Frankly, If I can't play with UOassist, I simply don't want to play. 

It's the principle of the thing. I don't care to debate whether or not UOassist is running the game. This is not me trying to slap DD in the face. I consider Raph to be a close online friend. I've met him in real life, I think his wife's a great lady and I love his kids. I just don't want to play this game anymore unless I can use UOassist. I think it's a slap in the face of every player who's endured 2 years of unarguable bad service and support to suddenly pull rank and decide that they don't want these kids on their playground any longer. OSI's latest policies are the biggest F-U to the people that worked hard to help mold this game that it makes me sick. 

For two long years we've swallowed statements that amounted to "tough shit, if you don't like it, find something better" just to have you get mad at us for taking a tinkle in the pool? Fuck us? hey guys, do you read lips? Fuck you!. I am NOT going to change my style of gameplay so that you can make the bottom line look better to the powers that be. You TRAINED us to use this playing style, you MADE us. And now you're going to discard us? How DARE you sir?

OSI need look no further than their own skill system, unwillingness to pay for the building of a REAL customer and technical support helpdesk, and two years of comments like "creative uses of magic are not exploits" to see where the current state of their game came from.

So here I am again. About to cancel my UO account. The last time I quit, I begged that the company look at really building a decent support staff. I look out and instead see a group of players that have been conned into adopting an "employees pay the employer to work" situation, and polices aimed at turning player against player. All this to thank us for diligently beta testing Ultima Online 2. And you know who gets it the worst? The GM's and Counselors. The shit they endure must be simply suffocating. My hats off you SOB's. God love you, I couldn't do it.

I've gotten everything out of the game I can (including two paying gigs as a cartoonist and a LOT of friends) and what I do have, I earned myself. That's a lot more than the regular paying stiff gets from this game, huh? If you need me, I'll be drawing cartoons at MPOG, or playing a song on a server where it's actually possible to equip a lute (that last dig brought to you by the letters "e" and "q")

Seriously, rants aside...it's been great. Even the shitty parts (especially the shitty parts). To those staying, fight the power. Long live Tug. Long live Lum, Long live Kazolas and LONG LIVE OSM (who are all Catholic idol worshipers),

God bless UO!

-Samwise...signing off.

05/10/99 10:30 AM GMS PISSED OVER BEING MADE FUN OF FOR AGE, BAN EVERYONE

OK, the buzz all weekend has been about how the GMs are apparently banning folks because - get a load of this one - people complain about them. Bear in mind that GMs have been uniquely unresponsive to player complaints since pre-beta - they're responsive, now, bay-beee. Or at least that's what I hear. Here's a page with screen shots of GM Jakarta basically enumerating the new policy:

I'm saying that we would be willing to lose one player if it would make 20 other players happy. Right now other players are not happy because they think you are cheating...

... If you are not using any third party programs, you will need to change your playing style in some way. I do not want those players to be unhappy. If they keep reporting you, that means that they are unhappy about your playing style and I have to do something. This usually means banning your account. I do not want to do that...

...What you choose to do is up to you. I'm telling you that I do not want to recieve any more reports on you. If I do, there will be a problem. Does that make sense to you?

Unfortunately, yes.

You see, it was perfectly hunky dory for entire guilds to enrich themselves from house looting exploits. (the cause of the infamous "creative use of magic" excuse to ignore exploits) It was just peachy for entire guilds to loot castles and towers through using Stealth back when it was impossible to detect someone stealthing into your house. THAT was OK.

It was just plain gee-whizzy-golly for people to interrupt player- and OSI-run events, weddings, what have you with PKs warping in, monsters gated in, purple potion bombs napalming everyone in site...

But not any more. Now, YOU TOO can get someone you don't like banned! It's easy!

(1) Get a group of your friends together (about 20 should suffice)

(2) Everyone page a GM. Make your excuse somewhat believable (say, he noto-PK'd you).

(3) Wait for the GM to get pissy because they actually have to take calls, and ban the offending wretch.

I know I harp on this topic quite a bit, and that most (probably all, actually) of the people targeted are worthless wastes of pixels that could be better utilized on everyone's screen. Still. Is everyone who "plays in a suspicious manner" being targeted for banning? Nope. It's haphazard at best.

Basically, the message I get, and most players who don't spend all their time at four weddings and a funeral get, is that you can be banned at any time, for any reason, and your best defense is to just make sure the authorities never notice you.

Gee. If I wanted to live that way, I wouldn't play UO, I'd move to Compton.

I'm still pretty undecided on various aspects of this, which is why I haven't posted an update in a while, and welcome comments (and will post the better ones). This is something that merits further discussion.

OLDER RANTS

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