05/19/99 9:30 AM NOT UO UPDATES FROM THE WORLD AROUND YOU
For those of you who still get all your news of the outside world from Dr. Twister, UOVault, and that patch message that comes up when you start UO, some things have been happening lately.
First up, Paula Jones has her own psychic hotline now. This is in addition to her new career as a country and western singer. (You know, I'm making NONE of this up. ZERO.) Women all over Nashville are now petitioning Bill Clinton, in the hopes that if he shows them his penis they too can break into the music business, or at the very least a psychic hotline they can call their own.
In proper commemoration of this triumph of the independent American woman, I now declare that Paula Jones is the official obsessive-compulsive icon of lum.webtoys.net, replacing LadyMOI and Sorsha The Amazing UO Cyberwhore. Expect more and more Paula Jones updates until I come to my senses.
In other news, we're still bombing Serbia, and will continue to bomb Serbia until they surrender, we run out of bombs, or Designer Dragon implements a Balkans PK switch. Oh, and I heard at work there's some movie coming out today or something.
05/18/99 10:00 AM DELUSIONS AND SMURFS, OH MY!
Got this in the mail this morning...
I find myself agreeing with most of your assertions in part 1 of your series
of essays on community. I personally fit right in between Merchant and
Roleplayer, with a small dash of Hunter mixed in. The vast majority of people
I know in UO could also be fit into your categorizations. However, I find
myself disagreeing with a few points in your second essay, mostly those
involving the volunteer program.
An Anonymous Counselor
Well, you can certainly ask.
However, the unpaid volunteer program has been a massive disaster for Ultima Online, and any "new system" has got many miles of road to walk before the damage to the public trust can be repaired. The screening process for counselors was a joke. The vast, vast majority of counselors in UO were there only because they thought it was a promotion from Player. Calls in the queue went unanswered for hours as hundreds of Cs sat in #uo-council comparing dick sizes. PK guilds had pet smurfs scout for them and then gloat over the kills. This is not something you can just wash away with a breezy "it's better now, really!" We want proof.
You want my opinion? The counselor program needs to be eliminated. It doesn't work. The baggage from the KewlDeWd Smurfs is too heavy to wash away.
In its place, a comprehensive system of technical support must be created for Ultima Online. A thorough analysis needs to be made of the number of customer service calls per shard per night, skew that analysis towards the high end, and plan a system of blanket, complete coverage so that any call is answered within three minutes or less. That's the standards we meet in the real world, it's not too much to ask, as paying customers, that it be met here. There may be a place for unpaid volunteers within this system. There may not be. However, whomever staffs this system must be held legally liable for their actions as they reflect upon Origin Systems. They are customer service representatives, exactly the same as any GM, and must be held to the same standards of auditing, training and recruiting.
What? GMs aren't held to any standards of training and recruiting?
Oh, and a response to one specific point:
Oh really? Well, I have seen it, PERSONALLY, not second or third hand, and within the past month, involving the new experimental powers they were given to punish players. The ONLY reason I didn't immediately post a twenty page obscenity-filled rant about it was as a personal favor to the persons trying to track down the perpetrator.
Obviously The New Order faltered a bit in their "rigorous screening process". Or maybe it's all those smurfs from The Bad Old Days who somehow are still around?
Burn it down, and start over.
Next email comes from every cartoonist's favorite nemesis, Delusion;
I can sympathize with both sides pretty readily. Much like real cops who get an attitude problem, that of a GM's is often crafted by the fact that GMs have to deal with the worst of the worst on a fairly regular basis. More than that, it's not just the worst sorts who make GMing less enjoyable. Banning someone who's been a contant participant in vulgar harassment is one thing, but even when they have to deal with the role-playing community, which you would think would be an easier crowd, you have just as many of them who try to "get something" out of the GMs. In any player-GM confrontation, a GM is almost always required to say nothing about it publicly, whereas the victim is free to proclaim his unjust treatment, sometimes completely devoid of facts.
Lest I come off as an apologist,
I've had my first-hand experience with careless GMing. The most memorable
was on April 22nd 1998. UOVault carried it in part, and the CoB carried it
in full. I saved it at https://www.delusion.smart.net/frustration.html.
The outcry was strong enough that GM Ed posted to the CoB news submission.
It was posted right above my submission. It was important enough to e-mail
me about it and promise me something would be done. It wasn't,
however, important enough to actually follow through and keep the promises
he made in the post.
The fear of, to put it in the context of today's rant, "White
Flight" from UO to EQ isn't much of an issue now. The idea that EQ was
either going to draw off all the PKers - or in contrast, become a
role-playing haven - hasn't panned out. Of course it didn't, EQ wasn't aimed
at a niche audience, just as UO wasn't.
Couple of points - I never thought that roleplayers and PKers weren't at each other's throats from the start. Merely that until the rep system, it wasn't a contest. In every meeting between roleplayers and PKers, the roleplayers were immediately wiped out. It wasn't until consequences for murders were introduced that the PKers had any inducement whatsoever not to annihilate everyone on screen. At that point, the community matured enough for actual conflict (as opposed to annihilation) to develop. Roleplayers actually have an actual agenda now beyond "Don't kill me".
Also, of course GMs see the worst of players, no matter the archetype. Hey... it's part of the job. Welcome to the wonderful world of customer support. If they can't handle the job, they need a new one. It's another excuse, not a reason.
(Guess what Lummy does for a living! And his customers are actually well behaved...)
BITCH AT LUM
Someday, I'll put something else in this space. I don't know, nude pictures of Paula Jones or something.