February 2001




Newsletter to Red Dragon Software, Inc. shareholders

This letter is to update you on Red Dragon Software, Inc.\’e2\’80\’99s progress in completing Rune Conquest.

You are aware of the problems we ran into after we found out in January, 2000, that our original programmer, Chris Anderson, had defrauded Red Dragon, had put up images from other copyrighted games, and claimed those images as having been designed by Red Dragon. While we immediately dismissed Mr. Anderson, and have pursued legal action against him, his actions gave Red Dragon a terrible image in the gaming community. As a result, we have withdrawn from the gaming forums and are quietly working on the programming of Rune Conquest, this time with programmers with substantial credentials.

Compensating those programmers for their work, and covering other expenses of Red Dragon is the responsibility of Pure Stroke Golf. Pure Stroke\’e2\’80\’99s funding of Red Dragon has been delayed, interestingly enough, by the very same individuals who cried “fraud” and “scam” when we learned of Mr. Anderson\’e2\’80\’99s defrauding the gaming community.

As a guaranteed beta tester, I thought you might help me out with a problem that has come up. Our troubles with Mr. Anderson have carried over to Pure Stroke Golf, in that customers and affiliates of Pure Stroke have come across derogatory comments about myself and Pure Stroke when they search “Pure Stroke Golf” on the internet. For example, if you go to “Yahoo”, then enter “Pure Stroke Golf”, you\’e2\’80\’99ll find at least two “articles”, TALE OF THE DRAGON and $1,000 IN STOCK REWARD.

Why are these articles having to do with our problems at Red Dragon listed on the internet when golfers inquire about Pure Stroke? That\’e2\’80\’99s a good question. The derogatory comments have to do with Red Dragon Software, and my son\’e2\’80\’99s game, Rune Conquest, which is understandable, considering Mr. Anderson\’e2\’80\’99s fraud and misrepresentation. Nowhere is there a complaint against Pure Stroke Golf.

My attorney and I have come to the same conclusion. These two articles are listed because the individuals behind those articles are attempting to defame and slander my reputation, and the reputation of Pure Stoke Golf. These actions are deliberate, and have damaged my golf company.

What is interesting is that these individuals who complain that Rune Conquest is not completed and available to the public to play are the individuals who are responsible for the delays in completing the game. Why? Because Red Dragon\’e2\’80\’99s money comes from Pure Stroke Golf, and interfering with Pure Stroke\’e2\’80\’99s income also interferes with Red Dragon\’e2\’80\’99s progress on the game! It\’e2\’80\’99s that simple.

So who out there is behind the slander of Pure Stroke Golf and myself? Any suggestions as to who the culprits are would be appreciated. If you have any suggestions as to how we can remove the articles pertaining to Red Dragon from the search engines when “Pure Stroke Golf” is entered under “Search”, I\’e2\’80\’99d like to hear those suggestions.

Pure Stroke recently negotiated a sizeable sale of common stock, to raise money for Pure Stroke\’e2\’80\’99s expansion, and with a large percentage of those funds earmarked to go into Red Dragon for programming expenses. The broker handling that stock sale backed out after one of his investors came across the two (Lum and Ezboard) articles when looking up Pure Stroke Golf on the internet. Those funds would have easily completed Rune Conquest.

The individuals responsible for keeping the “Lum” and “Ezboard” articles up and visible on various search engines, when a golfer searches for “Pure Stroke Golf”, are costing you and Red Dragon in time and money.

Your ideas as to how we can combat these individuals are welcome.

Take care.

Pete Baumann

Nevermind the fact that with each passing day, more people are reporting that they have not been issued a refund -or- a T-shirt and printed map. Somehow, one website has managed to completely foil his good hearted attempts at funding his game. Somehow, by posting THE TRUTH, we have done something wrong. Somehow, the fact that typing Pure Stroke Golf into yahoo.com and seeing a link that says “… Neither Pure Stroke Golf, nor Red Dragon Software exist as corporations in the state of California.” is illegal and we are somehow responsible.

FACT: The author of that investigative report made a good faith investigation and was unable to find any official registration in the state of California for any company named Pure Stroke Golf.

FACT: Rune Conquest promised the world and delivered excuses, all the while, offering discount coupons for golf clubs when you paid Fifty bucks and became a future beta tester.

FACT: I offered an opportunity to Pete Baumann to clear the air several times in the past month and a half, when he brought his yahoo concerns to my attention. All I asked for was an update on Rune Conquest and an interview with some of the developers.

FACT: Peter Baumann ignored these offers and issued a threat of legal action unless we removed any articles that mention Pure Stroke Golf.

Sorry Mr. Baumann but you were the one who came out and pushed golf clubs in our faces. You were the one who openly made the link, and you were the one posting on all those discussion boards (which, I’d like to point out are in no way associated with this website).

And finally Mister baumann, if you require personal information about me, you don’t have to solicit your “shareholders” for espionage. You can email me the contact information for your legal representative and I will give him whatever information about me he requires.

But just remember – full disclosure is a two way street.

LUMNEWS #3 [Author: Mako]

AO is indeed in Phase III beta, they just sent the e-mails out in small batches. XRGaming has a ‘first impressions’ article up if you’re interested\’e2\’80\’a6 \’e2\’80\’a6It’s your last chance to buy your way into the Ultima Online: Third Dawn beta test. Woo woo\’e2\’80\’a6 \’e2\’80\’a6On the other hand, despite rumors to the contrary, UWOOWOO beta is not starting yet, dammit\’e2\’80\’a6 \’e2\’80\’a6J of sb.xrgaming.net still isn’t in the Shadowbane beta. KEEP HIM IN YOUR PRAYERS\’e2\’80\’a6 \’e2\’80\’a6Speaking of Shadowbane, Corpnews has finally put up that interview with Ashen Temper I told you about. J, Delusion, Myschyf, Poppinfresh, and a couple random people were in attendance. Here’s a quote:

Ashen Temper- Mys’s article wasn’t that bad… it was her opinion.

Myschyf- woot! does this mean I’m still in the beta?

Some people from \’e2\’80\’98Peroxide\’e2\’80\’99 are doing a 3D remake of Ultima 1. I’ve never played it, but I’m sure all you geriatric fools have. In any case, the original version might still turn out to be better\’e2\’80\rdblquote looks like their female shadow elves are a bit, um, top-heavy. Whoops\’e2\’80\’a6

Gamespot has posted a small newsbit on BioWare’s recent update of their progress on Neverwinter Nights. The full update can also be found straight from the BioWare site\’e2\’80\’a6 \’e2\’80\’a6Sony Online has released a few new screenshots from ‘Planetside’, Verant’s new MMO-Action Game. The player and weapon models do admittedly look pretty cool\’e2\’80\’a6 \’e2\’80\’a6The Guardian has published an article on women in gaming\’e2\’80\rdblquote it\’e2\’80\’99s sort of rehashing things that have already been discussed, but there are some interesting statistics to be found\’e2\’80\’a6 \’e2\’80\’a6 EA\’e2\’80\’99s \’e2\’80\’98Majestic\’e2\’80\’99 has a new \’e2\’80\’98contact demo\’e2\’80\’99 posted, whatever the hell that is\’e2\’80\’a6 \’e2\’80\’a6The surgeon general says, gosh darn it, there really isn\’e2\’80\’99t much evidence that video games and other media cause violence! Our bad!\’e2\’80\rdblquote he actually says that while there is little evidence, more research is needed\’e2\’80\’a6


Yeah, I know, I’m supposed to be looking for work and stuff and don’t actually write here any more. Sue me. No, wait, don’t. Apparently you have to wait in line if you do.

I actually found out about this lawsuit threat while on the phone to a potential employer which made it somewhat embarassing explaining why I couldn’t stop laughing. Anyway, since I apparently am the focus of all things dark and spikey in Red Dragon’s universe, I thought a comment or two was warranted. Note that in a warm, fuzzy, and wholly legal sense these comments and opinions are mine alone and do not represent the opinions of EZBoard, Atomic Rhino, Verio, Dotster, Time-Warner, Jinx, or Stratics. Well, actually, they do represent the opinions of Stratics. But don’t tell anyone.

OK, my comments on this ridiculous foolishness:

The articles in question Mr. Baumann seems to have a problem with (Tale of the Dragon, mainly) have been looked over by attorneys and they fit neither the legal nor the commonly held definition of libel. At no point did we slander Mr. Baumann or his many companies; in fact pretty much the extent of Bob’s reporting was in posting hyperlinks to Mr. Baumann’s own words.

Unfortunately, it’s apparently not possible to bring a lawsuit against yourself. Mr. Baumann seems to wish he could, judging from his distress at his own “stock offer in Purestroke” posting appearing in a search engine query on Yahoo and subsequent threats to EZBoard, maintainers of the message board in question. It seems that Mr. Baumann wishes to muzzle, by threats of reckless legal action, any and all discussion of his business endeavors relating to golf clubs, nineteen seperate varieties of sponges, or the combinations thereof.

While there is no legal precedent as of yet as to whether or not message board traffic is protected speech under the First Amendment, the question’s already attracted some interest. It is my belief, however, and moreover one shared by the attorneys who have expressed an interest in representing the defendants in this potential case, that in fact this has nothing to do with message board traffic, but is simply a form of legal terrorism waged by Mr. Baumann to stifle any public discussion of his questionable business practices.

Needless to say, the previous articles we have posted regarding “Red Dragon Software” remain on this site, and I’ve been informed by the current owners of this site that they will continue to do so. If Mr. Baumann wishes to continue to threaten myself and others associated with this web site with legal action, he will be ignored. If he actually is foolish and unaware of the actual laws involved to file an actual legal case as opposed to the imaginary threats we have seen thus far, I personally will immediately file a countersuit for harassment and will seek damages in full for any expenses incurred while defending myself from this clearly frivolous legal action.

Any further comments from myself on this matter will be handled through my attorneys. Thank you for your attention and patience.

Discuss: Real cases. Real people. Judge Judy.


Occasionally a name can slip by the name filtering process though. There have been many stories about players having their name changed because it was later found to be inapporpriate. It’s usually not that big of a deal because the name is often caught rather early in the characters life and there is no permanent damage done. The name is changed to something a bit more suitable for the game and everyone moves on.

This brings me to the story of Xstacy. Xstacy is a level 59 Enchanter. Those of you that don’t play EverQuest might not know what it takes to make it to level 59. You either have to really love the game and be devoted to it, or you have to be clinically insane. Xstacy is devoted to the game and doesn’t appear to have any outward signs of insanity. Last week Xstacy logged on and got a message from a GM that her name was inappropriate and that it was going to be changed. Verant apparently found something wrong with it and after letting her live with the name for 59 levels decided to change it. Xstacy was crushed. After having a character name for 59 levels you kind of get used to it. Your friends, guildmates and people on the server kind of know you by your name. Seeing as there isn’t a whole lot of character customization the only way you can be recognized is by character name. Xstacy wrote a letter to Lead Game Master Valdelmar to find out what was going on. His response was:


I know you have had that name for a very long time but also I know that we have to uphold our polices to the letter. I feel sure that you know that I have a history of being a by the book and a fair GM when it comes to these sorts of things.

Recently, we came under fire for people having names that denoted or

glorified drug use. These names included Cannibus, Bongtoke, Crystal Meth and Ecstacy. Your name falls into that line of drugs used by the rave youth of today so it needed to be changed.

I even went to my boss to get her ruling on it and she said that it would not stay even with no last surname and me posing as a character witness for you as to the type of player you are. I know that you don’t use it in the drug related sense but it can still be taken as that way.

I am sorry but it had to be done to uphold our polices.

Lead Game Master Valdelmar

Sony Online Entertainment

The examples he gave were quite obviously in violation of the naming policy. Cannibus and Bongtoke probably don’t fit in too well with a fantasy setting. They have one meaning and really can’t be taken any other way. Ecstacy on the other hand is, you know, actually a word. It is a pretty common word that just happens to be also be the name of a drug. This isn’t something that the average person is going to be horribly upset or offended by.

I decided to take a look at the actual naming policy. It doesn’t show any rules prohibiting this sort of name. If Verant is going to do stuff to ‘uphold their policies’ then they might want to look over their policies themselves. Maybe they should just add a disclaimer that they can and will change player names whenever they feel like it.

I tried to contact a couple of people at Verant regarding this issue. They told me, in no uncertain terms, that they wouldn’t discuss this with anyone other then the owner of the account.

In the end what you have is Verant way overreacting to a simple name and screwing one of their veteran players in the process. Long live The Vision\’e2\’84\’a2.


Technically, ProjectX, isn’t an MMOG quite yet. Unlike some people, they’re familiar with the limitations of starting a niche product and seem to be keeping their goals realistic. Rather than build a game with magic server code and 19 species of sponges, they’re starting smaller – a game designed around the Gemstone III mud engine and client, which has the actual benefit of already existing… More to the point, it’s a project lead by an employee of Simultronics, who made Gemstone III in the first place.

Personally, I’d like to see them get somewhere with this. Yes, I’m still an atheist. I don’t consider that a contradiction. Of course, by the same token, I also wouldn’t be playing it, but I think it might have more to offer the industry than is first apparent.

Presumably, a Christian-specific role-playing environment would exhibit many of the same traits as existing MMOGs. In fact, human nature guarantees it, and that’s why it interests me. If this game sees the light of day, it’s going to have administration requirements that have been seen in previous MUDlike games, but simply hasn’t existed in the newer generation of MMRPGs. Having a moral aspect to your games isn’t new, as anyone who played Ultima IV through VII can tell you. But that aspect of Ultima Online was abandoned during development; the irony isn’t lost on a lot of people.

Content control is a big issue when you’re not only trying to tell a specific story (at which some games have been better at than others) but also trying to make sure your players aren’t telling the wrong story. At least in a game like this, the developer has a pretty good idea of what does and doesn’t constitute the “right” story.

There are content issues inherent in an environment like this that need to be solved differently. The false dichotomy of Ultima Online’s “PKs vs RPs” pales in comparison to the problems of actually enforcing not only a role-play environment, but one with specific values and beliefs. What do you do with players who prefer a PvP style of game – let them be Romans, witches, heretics, Muslims, demons, unbelievers, or do you have Christ’s followers camping the newbie spawn points for fresh souls? These pre-existing solutions are not as practical in an faith-specific religiously-themed environment.

Is there a way to create a game for a niche market and be something bigger than a MUD? Is there an interest in online gaming with a moral dimension (whether it’s one I agree with is more a question for me as a customer than as someone writing about this genre), and more importantly, how reasonable a concept is this? Is there a way to woo an audience that has a vocal minority assuring it that the very concept of a role-playing game isn’t appropriate for the very target audience it’s intended for?

Does Jesus cast spells?


One of the internet’s oldest semicorporate gaming news sites, CNET’s GameCenter, is closing down. Apparently CNet already has a duplicate site under their control (This resulting from the CNet purchase of ZDNet), but that doesn’t appear to be their only problem. If everything really is hitting the fan for CNet, having a graceful end of the GameCenter Alliance program (The program that, until recently, supported XRGaming) is a credit to their professionalism…but I’ve always liked CNet. In any event, they did a much better job than some other people we could mention. That sort of behavior tends to breed loathing and mockery, especially in shockwave form.


Niami, kneebiter cleric (or as I call it, EQ’s ghetto booty class – sitting on your ass as often as they do makes some impressive posteriors) of some repute issued a FINAL GODDAM WARNING to her loyal constituents on the Tunare, All-Mother of Love and Fuzzling, server.

Apparently Niami, who didn’t already have enough battlespam in the Plane of Hate, was deluged last night with messages ranging from “wll u sell me phat lewtz” to “wll u give me phat recipeez,” and, goddammit, she’s had ENOUGH.

Oddly enough, her <a href=”http://www.eqtraders.com/secrets/recipes_velious.htm”phat recipeez are ALL available on the website that made her ‘famous,’ excluding the half or so of Velious recipes that are STILL BROKEN. Cleanup for Ester on aisle four…

Maybe if Ester were to actually, you know, LOOK at recipes like oak tannin and such, there wouldn’t be only a small group of hard-core tradeskillers like Niami that are actually willing to sit through hours of the ever-famous “Items do not combine in those quantities to produce anything.” message to find the handful that DO work.

Then there would be more people than just HER to be phat lewt provider to the world, which would be nice because, surprise, most trade skills have joined jewelcrafting in the USEFUL category. And the new religious jewelcrafting is useful, EXCEPT FOR EVERYONE WHO WORSHIPS GODS OTHER THAN SOLUSEK RO. All other deities, apparently, are not part of the phat lewt Vision. And I’m sure Niami, who being a cleric probably hasn’t made a piece of jewellery in her life, gets bugged for these as well.

But I guess that’s the price she pays for being famous.

-smug grin-


Pure Stroke Golf

address removed

Phone: (removed)

email address removed


My name is Pete Baumann. and I own Pure Stroke Golf, established in

1996, in Yreka, CA. Prior to that, I owned Probe Custom Golf here in

Yreka, since 1987. I’ve never had a single complaint against either of these companies by my golf customers.

In October of 1999, I became involved with the internet for the first time, when my son asked me to back him in a computer game he had designed. I made several mistakes in doing so, primarily in believing in and trusting one Christopher Anderson in Joshua Tree, CA. He had indicated he could do everything we needed in a game programmer. It took me three months to find out he had lied to me, had defrauded my son and me, and the damage he has caused to my company, Red Dragon Software, has been tremendous. Regardless, Red Dragon software is proceeding in completing my son’s game.

This brings me to the reason I am sending you this mail. My troubles with Mr. Anderson have carried over to Pure Stroke Golf, in that customers and affiliates of Pure Stroke have come across derogatory comments about myself and Pure Stroke when they search “Pure Stroke Golf” on the internet. For example, if you go to “Yahoo”, then enter “Pure Stroke Golf”, you’ll find at least two “articles”, TALE OF THE DRAGON and $1,000 IN STOCK REWARD.

Why are these articles having to do with our problems at Red Dragon listed on the internet when golfers inquire about Pure Stroke? That’s a good question. The derogatory comments have to do with Red Dragon Software, and my son’s game, Rune Conquest, which is understandable, considering Mr. Anderson’s fraud. Nowhere is there a complaint against Pure Stroke Golf.

My attorney and I have come to the same conclusion. These two articles are listed because the individuals behind those articles are attempting to defame and slander my reputation, and the reputation of Pure Stoke Golf. These actions are deliberate, and have damaged my golf company.

What is interesting is that these individuals who complain that Rune Conquest is not completed and available to the public to play are the individuals who are responsible for the delays in completing the game. Why? Because Red Dragon’s money comes from Pure Stroke Golf, and interfering with Pure Stroke’s income also interferes with Red Dragon’s progress on the game! It’s that simple.

So who out there is behind the slander of Pure Stroke Golf and myself? Any suggestions as to who the culprits are would be appreciated. In the meantime, suspects are now being “discussed”, and a civil suit is being prepared. Included in the present list of Defendants are the following individuals and companies (with more to follow):

1. Everyone connected to www.lumthemad.com and www.lumthemad.net .

2. www.ezboard.com officers and affiliates.

3. www.Verio.net officers / owners, Verio, Inc.

4. Dotster, Inc. / Dotster.com

5. Webtoys

6. Atomic Rhino Networks

7. XRGaming

8. Chris Anderson

9. Scott Jennings

We’re investigating other names as well. The major individual behind most of the companies listed is Scott Jennings (aka Lum – address and phone number removed. -Arc), with addresses for his other dba’s in other states as well. Other names of individuals are coming to light at this time, and will be included as named Defendants in our civil suit.

Some of the above-named individuals and companies will be notified of our impending civil suit, which will proceed in court if the aforementioned articles are not removed from the internet immediately. That includes Ezboard’s removal of the entire pub3.ezboard site, and the removal of the lumthemad article.

Anyone listed as a defendant above who feels they are unjustly accused and do not deserve to be included in our suit as a defendant may email me and plead their case.

Thank you for your attention in this matter.

Pete Baumann

Face Front, True Believers.


[Mon Feb 05 22:29:18 2001] You told Vaylin, ‘then you should have noproblems what so ever with us. ‘

[Mon Feb 05 22:30:11 2001] Vaylin tells you, ‘thats what Im hoping I dosuggest you guys do something about those in your guild who wish to say thatthey wish to violate our rules as it puts your guild in a bad light bothwith myself and everyone else on the server.’

[Mon Feb 05 22:31:03 2001] You told Vaylin, ‘can I ask you a question onclarification? Does any one guild raid incompass a whole zone under Verant’srules? I don’t see anything to the such on www.everquest.com’

[Mon Feb 05 22:31:29 2001] Vaylin tells you, ‘No one owns a zone.’

[Mon Feb 05 22:32:00 2001] You told Vaylin, ‘and if I were to zone into azone, and attack a mob that was not agro, chasing, orattacking any other player, would that be breaking any such rule?’

[Mon Feb 05 22:32:22 2001] Vaylin tells you, ‘But then again if you go and disrupt someone elses raid that is another story.’

[Mon Feb 05 22:32:55 2001] You told Vaylin, ‘I understand the rhetoric,but what do you concider disruption? If we are in the same zone, and theydon’t want us there?’

[Mon Feb 05 22:33:41 2001] You told Vaylin, ‘If I proclaim, that I and myguild are ‘raiding’ a whole zone, and another group zones in. Are theydisrupting my camp of the whole zone?’

[Mon Feb 05 22:34:03 2001] Vaylin tells you, ‘Honestly I know you guysknow what you should and shouldnt do. All Im asking is dont do somethingthats going to get me on you or something you would hate done to you.’

[Mon Feb 05 22:34:28 2001] You told Vaylin, ‘off the record, does verantlike this calendar system that the rathe has?’

[Mon Feb 05 22:35:36 2001] Vaylin tells you, ‘my answer on that will always be ‘Myself as GM nor does Sony Online Entertainment support anycalendar system”‘

[Mon Feb 05 22:35:56 2001] You told Vaylin, ‘I understand that answer, but yet, you say that there will be reprecussions for breaking such agreement?’

[Mon Feb 05 22:36:38 2001] Vaylin tells you, ‘I never said that. I justsaid dont break any rules and ask that you treat the other guilds like you wish to be treated.’

[Mon Feb 05 22:37:23 2001] You told Vaylin, ‘aye, I know that you can notdo or so anything other than the guidelines.’

[Mon Feb 05 22:37:53 2001] You told Vaylin, ‘I just want to be sure that such guidelines are followed if such an occurance were to happen.’

[Mon Feb 05 22:38:21 2001] Vaylin tells you, ‘Like I said just dont break the rules you guys know what not to do. ‘

[Mon Feb 05 22:38:51 2001] Vaylin tells you, ‘Then we wont have anyproblems.’

[Mon Feb 05 22:39:10 2001] You told Vaylin, ‘I’m sorry, but it seems as though you keep going by the book, and then turning around and reitterate something else’

[Mon Feb 05 22:39:58 2001] You told Vaylin, ‘On a side note, is The Rathe being concidered for a server split, I’m sure if it were, it would could prolong and even negate some conflict if it were to arrise’

[Mon Feb 05 22:42:14 2001] Vaylin tells you, ‘On the guild issue dont break the rules. As for the split I dont have any input on that issue.’

[Mon Feb 05 22:43:26 2001] You told Vaylin, ‘I understand your hands are tied on the server split issue, but if you had any information… I would be able to use that to persude things differently. If you still can not say anything, we will be under the impression that the server ‘

[Mon Feb 05 22:43:44 2001] You told Vaylin, ‘the server isn’t splitting any time soon, and maybe never’

[Mon Feb 05 22:44:05 2001] Vaylin tells you, ‘Honestly they dont tell me anything on it. You’ll hear before I will.’

[Mon Feb 05 22:44:34 2001] You told Vaylin, ‘Ok.. I understand. My hands are tied with issues at work too. ‘

[Mon Feb 05 22:45:37 2001] You told Vaylin, ‘Honestly, we don’t want to cause the GM’s and guides any more headache. But with the high levels problems getting worst every day, I dont see things becoming clear any time soon.’

[Mon Feb 05 22:46:55 2001] You told Vaylin, ‘if an issue were to arrise,would you like us to notify you or your guide staff of any intentions sothey can witness first hand if we break any rules set forth by Verant?'[Mon Feb 05 22:47:11 2001] Vaylin tells you, ‘Please do.’

[Mon Feb 05 22:48:08 2001] You told Vaylin, ‘I’m sure we will to make sure that things are observered. Is there anything else?’

[Mon Feb 05 22:49:53 2001] Vaylin tells you, ‘nope.’

[Mon Feb 05 22:50:40 2001] You told Vaylin, ‘Thanks for your time, if you have any other questions, feel free to contact us.’

[Mon Feb 05 22:51:41 2001] You say to your guild, ‘sorry if I haven’t been talking much. been in tells with our Head GM.. I’ll post the log on the message board in a few mins.’

[Mon Feb 05 22:52:25 2001] You say to your guild, ‘In summary… GM says..Don’t do it. I say, these are the rules, we dont break them. GM says, Yes those are the rules. GM says, don’t do it.’

[Mon Feb 05 22:52:47 2001] Vaylin tells you, ‘I wish you a good eve.’

[Mon Feb 05 22:52:51 2001] You say to your guild, ‘I say, this is what weare planning on doing, do these break the rules. GM says, nobody owns azone. GM says, dont do it’

[Mon Feb 05 22:53:09 2001] You told Vaylin, ‘you too. ‘

The GM basically came to warn this guy away from having his guild raid a zone that another guild is in the process of raiding. I’m sure that the core issue is that Guild A wants to hit that zone on a certain night and clear EVERYTHING out over the course of like 7 hours. Guild B is going to come in and clear half of everything out before Guild A can get to it all.

HEDRON’S OFFICIAL TRANSLATION OF THE GM: “Even though it’s not against the rules, and even though I don’t have any solution to the overcrowding, if you piss off another guild so that they flood me with whiney messages, I’m going to disband you. What I would like is for you to be passive and accepting of another guild’s claims. I don’t care if that leaves you standing around a bank somewhere with your thumb up your ass.”

HEDRON’S OFFICIAL TRANSLATION OF THE PLAYER: “What we’re planning is not against the rules. It’s bullshit that some guild thinks they can just plant a flag and claim the whole zone for an entire night when we’re all crying for room to breathe. So basically, if you don’t write down in a document somewhere that we can’t do this, we’re going to. Vague implications of banning us for violating UNWRITTEN rules are bullshit. Go screw.”

What they ACTUALLY did was dance back and forth. It was the PLAYER who was smart enough to politely request that they be able to inform a GM just before they do something and get an official ruling.

And in point of fact, I’ve seen a million stories about UO where players have done just that – checked the rules, asked a staff member, been given the ok, and then later on gotten screwed. That answer is always the same, “You should just know what you can and can’t do. Who cares who told you it was ok. You’re an ass. BAN!”

If a head GM sees a situation coming up that should be against the rules, but there ARE no rules, then this situation should be handled differently. Vague implications that they’ll be banned regardless of
what’s in the rules ARE bullshit. What they SHOULD do is inform the players as such,

“Your actions are going to cause problems. There’s a consensus here in customer service that even though no rules are officially posted that cover this exact situation, what you’re planning on doing is a bad idea. We are in the process of wording an exact rule about what can and can’t be done in this situation. We will have that rule ready in about a week. I’m instructing you (for right now) to stay completely out of the zone when the other guild is raiding. That’s a little unfair to you right now, but we’ll have an official ruling shortly and in the meantime I want us all to avoid conflict, and keep YOU GUYS out of hot water. Thanks.”

What’s so hard about that? Pass an OFFICIAL rule. Put it on the web site. Make it clear. Have a process in place to come out with OFFICIAL rules in a reasonable time period. We’re not talking about reworking the tax code here. We’re talking about an amendment to game rules – one that can be changed later if experience says that what you tried was a bad idea.


The False Prophet

Gratuitous RP Signature


This is the canvas of today. You’re looking at it. Graphics and text, powered by servers and fiber optic cables. The beauty of the baud. Technology and advancement, some claim – I call her irony.

Our role models and heroes of days past struggled to keep a proper public image. The pinnacle of success was to see ones picture on a Wheaties box, or win an Olympic medal. They made public appearances, and if nothing else, mocked sincerity towards there fans and fame.

Welcome to today. You are now a hero and a role model to thousands upon thousands of people. You don’t play a sport, you have no noteworthy charm, and you aren’t exactly the greatest looking person on earth. You are, however, the half-naked female in Ever Quest, the dull parchment colored box of Asheron’s Call, and yes, you’re even the guy making ten bucks an hour as a Game Master. Your name is John Smedley, Scott Herrington, R. Garriott, even Abashi and many more.

Generations are beginning to look to you for wisdom, insight, a kind smile, or a gentle nudge towards the right path. Call it just a game, call it a virtual reality, or call it your vision, but it still boils down to that at this very second, behind a desk, in a room somewhere, countless “somebody’s” are supporting your product instead of playing a sport or watching a film.

To these nameless, faceless individuals, you are the Michael Jordan on the cereal box, you are the last action hero, and you are the Olympic medallist. You have the artistic talent they wish they were born with, you have helped them decide to major in computer science, and you have developed a product they adore. You are who they look up to when they ponder the future and their careers. No, I don’t want to hit a baseball like Ken Griffey Jr., I want to code and draw, just like you.

So where is the irony?

The irony lies in the fact that the vast majority of you don’t take the time, to, if nothing else; make an effort to at least pretend to recognize that you have replaced an important part of society. The part of society that has in the past, helped encourage kids to become a somebody.

Sure, numerous of your “customers” do nothing more than belittle your hard work and mock your efforts. But don’t you see? These are the ones that need your personal signature the most. These are the cries for help from a generation trapped behind a monitor looking for acceptance – by you. Your products helped make way for a new elaborate subculture within society, it’s now your turn to set an example for all pledging developers to come.

Respond to every email. Take the time to post on public forums. Show that you have personality. Don’t be bitter over words. Learn to smile. Pat a virtual shoulder every now and then. Shake a virtual hand once in awhile. Crack a lame joke.

Don’t be afraid to show that you’re human, and don’t be so quick to hit that “Delete” key, gentlemen.”

Perhaps I shouldn’t be posting this now, since I’m technically “competition.” But I’ve never been one to walk on egg shells or be overly political. What I am is honest – as a designer, a writer, or just an avid game fan – I’ll always be honest with you and speak my mind.

I guess what hit home the most was that I was this kid at one point, and a bigger version of the same kid, not less than a year ago. I’m one of the fortunate ones, I got lucky in finally being able to do what I dream about. To this day, certain people in the industry often don’t take the time to reply to simple “Hey how are ya?” emails. No, I’m nobody important, no I’m not working on anything you have heard of yet, but deep inside, I’m still this kid. I still admire what you do, I still look up to you, and I still want to be you.