April 2001



You see: Forsythe

Krank von Mensch: greyfysch

Greyfysch: what?

Krank von Mensch: greyfysch

Krank von Mensch: can you help me out a little man?

Greyfysch: no

You see: Orson

Krank von Mensch: this is gonna sound retarded

You see: Cassandra

Krank von Mensch: dude

Stern Sinn: [GoD] (Order)

You see: Stern Sinn

Krank von Mensch: i will pay you

Cassandra: Bank Recdu

Cassandra: Guards Recsu

Greyfysch: go away

Greyfysch: don’t wanna be paid

Krank von Mensch: i’ll pay you 10k

Stern Sinn: [GoD] (Order)

You see: Stern Sinn

Stern Sinn: [GoD] (Order)

You see: Stern Sinn

Krank von Mensch: if you do this

Greyfysch: not interested

You see: Delmore

Krank von Mensch: ok

Krank von Mensch: good

Krank von Mensch: cos

Krank von Mensch: xyl over here

Krank von Mensch: was gonna pk your noob azz anyway

: a recall rune for wow not guarded (Felucca)

You see: Tad

You see: Aurora

Greyfysch: right

Xyl’Quath: [Duke of Britainia, $!$]

You see: Xyl’Quath

Greyfysch: knock yerself out

Greyfysch: do it

Greyfysch: right here

Greyfysch: in town

Krank von Mensch: in town of course

Xyl’Quath: fuck you grey you noobi

Xyl’Quath: i will

Xyl’Quath: Rel Por – Teleport

Krank von Mensch: you are a fuckin noob

Greyfysch: so i can loot your sorry ass when the guards kill ya

Krank von Mensch: go to trammel

Xyl’Quath: Vas Ort Flam – Explosion

Greyfysch: ooo i’m scared

Krank von Mensch: he’s a fast typer xyl

Xyl’Quath: [Duke of Britainia, $!$]

You see: Xyl’Quath

Greyfysch: he can cast a spell and cancel it

Greyfysch: woah

Greyfysch: impressive

Krank von Mensch: grey

Greyfysch: do you do other tricks?

Greyfysch: roll over?

Xyl’Quath: you will die where you stand

Greyfysch: beg?

Krank von Mensch: we can tell that you’re fat irl

Stern Sinn: [GoD] (Order)

You see: Stern Sinn

Krank von Mensch: we know that

Greyfysch: oh how special

You see: shadowblade

Krank von Mensch: you’re a fat teenager

Krank von Mensch: you know….

Greyfysch: what a stunning insult

Krank von Mensch: i understand

Stern Sinn: [GoD] (Order)

You see: Stern Sinn

Krank von Mensch: it must be pretty bad

You see: Lawrence

Greyfysch: yeah

Greyfysch: sucks to be me

Krank von Mensch: average smart ass american kid….

Krank von Mensch: maybe 15 16 years old….

Cassandra: Kal Ort Por – Recall

You see: Lawrence

Greyfysch: heh

Krank von Mensch: you prolly think you know everything

Krank von Mensch: and you’re prolly very fat too

Zemus: [Whats PvP?, NpR] (Chaos)

You see: Zemus

War Child: [U.S] (Chaos)

You see: War Child

Krank von Mensch: happens to a lot of kids

Zemus: bank

War Child: [U.S] (Chaos)

You see: War Child

Minion: [CBK] (Order)

At this point I recalled away as I was done with my banking. This very special moment was brought to you by Krank von Mensch and Xyl’Quath, two people with nothing better to do than be assholes in online games.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO FIX UO? [Author: myschyf]

1) Wipe all the shards. Allow people to keep their characters but no items. Wipe the houses, wipe the banks, wipe the gold, wipe all possessions.

2) Get rid of Trammel. Keep Haven. Double size of Haven.

3) Make Felucca twice the size. Even if its a mirror. Make some areas PVP+ and some PVP-. Make it impossible to walk overland from a PVP- to a PVP- area without having to go through a PVP+ area. Reds are still guard-killed in towns but not in PVP- areas that are not also towns.

4) Make a thunderdome. Two people enter one person leaves. The person who dies loses the character.

5) Guards patrol the PVP- area. Guards are killable. Guards do not kill in one hit unless in town. However guards would be very hard to kill. If a guard sees a red s/he will attack. A 7x GM that was very skilled would have a CHANCE at killing the guard. It would be hard.

6) Keep rep patch and stat loss way it is now. Also make recalling and gating impossible for an hour after you have killed a blue.

7) Get rid of thieves and tamers.

8) Put in a good name filter. If your name makes it through the filter and you make it to 70 in four skills without getting complaints the character can stay — no matter what the name is.

9) Institute logging. No matter what the cost. Have harassment complaints entered online. A harassment complaint generates a log of the last 300 lines of text, emotes and actions. It gets sent along with the complaint. Automatically.

10) GMs and volunteers get logged. Every action, every word, every twitch of a finger. If there is a complaint the log is sent to the complaintant and the accused as well as whoever is handling the complaint.

11) Make a set of rules that work for OSI. (I think it goes without saying that making a set of rules that work for the entire playerbase would be impossible. Might as well just do something that satisfies OSI.) Put them on the official website. Stick to them. GMs do not have the power to change them. No matter what.

12) Anytime a GM takes someone to jail the incident is reviewed.

13) Institute a 3 strikes policy for both exploiting and macroing. You are perma-banned on the fourth infraction. Better checking of names/cc#’s etc to avoid perma-banned people being able to start a new acct. Perhaps make them buy the software again or something.

14) Each account can place one house. Only. Not one per shard. One. Only. Pick a shard, place the house, that’s it. No more. House costs should increase by a power of 10. Get rid of castles, keeps and towers and large patios.

15) Get rid of the empty, useless buildings in towns. Get rid of British’s and Blackthorne’s castles. Get rid of counselor guilds. Get rid of buildings purely for show. Decrease number of taverns and inns or else make them more useful. Get rid of cats, dogs, rats and birds in towns.

16) Make birds larger. If they can stop a person from moving they need to be larger. A sparrow cannot stop a person from moving. Teradactyls would be good. Ok maybe not teradactyls but you get the point.

17) Money sinks. Lots of them.


From his comments:

I have always believed that fiction is at its best when it is created by the players themselves. The best part of the Trinsic Invasions during the Renaissance publishes wasn\’e2\’80\’99t the stuff we did\’e2\’80\’a6 it was the stuff you did. What I do want, however, is to provide context for the changes and additions to the world, to create an interesting backdrop for all of you to tell your tales in, and to throw the occasional curve ball at you, just to keep you on your toes.

The message board post goes into further detail, describing a theoretical Undead invasion, complete with mongbats. No UO event is complete without mongbats, don’t you agree?

Suddenly, the undead strike! The shrines are under attack by Vampires and another new monster, undead mongbats (ooh, scary!), and other undead and the town criers plead for players to help defend them. Spawners are put in place that allow players to actually defeat the attacks…ie: players affect when the attacks stop based on how actively they fight back.

A new dungeon is created, Vampire crypts. This is where the Vampires spawn once their attacks are defeated and becomes a new Point of Interest for all players to enjoy.

So, unlike the Kobayashi Maru Trinsic scenario, players can actually win an event, without the mystical guiding hand of offseen overworked IGMs. The question remains, though, if OSI can actually carry off an involved, engaging plot. I mean, these are the same people who thought Ultima 9 was a triumph of the storytelling craft. Who created a guy cleverly named “FOA Leader” as the hidden hand behind the Cabal Formerly Known as Zog. And whose idea of a hidden motive force of evil was a leather-clad dominatrix with a henchmen named Lord Snidely Whiplash. Yes, most of the player-generated and interest-volunteer-generated content has been far above the standard set by OSI, but only because the standard up until this point has been so laughably low.

Clearly there’s some work to do. As Origin shifts gears in how they move the metagame behind the game forward, whether they succeed or not depends on how the players – that would be you, boss – react to all of this.


Needless to say, there were some questions about said Interest program. By the way, for you non-UO lurkers, “Interest” = in-game plot development, almost always “in character” over a long period of time, usually facilitated by “IGMs”, or Interest Game Masters. At least, that’s the way it was up until now. Now, well, it’s different. How? No one knows, but some hints were given last night. Such as:

[GragDash] I am wondering why the dev team constantly grows, while the IGM team has been locked since oct 1999. What is happening with intrest team, will it expand? are player establishment blessings commign back?

[Sage] The interest team has been linked to the dev team now, so there is no separation. Player establishment blessings promoted hard feelings and hurt the community more than they helped it. They will not be returning.

Gee, exclusive benefits to otherwise undistinguised members of the community at the expense of players who have given years of their lives towards building said community? Say it isn’t so!

[po`folks] does OSI feel localization has improved the RPG elements of UO?

[Sage] If you don’t speak English? Immensely.

And you thought there was no roleplaying on Asian shards. You’re just not looking hard enough!

In any event, new Event Czar Calandryll promised a “Comments” filing today; more when that happens. Or less. Or something. Maybe we’ll design an Automated Lum Rant Generator. Can’t be that hard, and continuing to use volunteer labor for Lum’s may be legally dicey. Plus, you know, people resent it when we create rants specifically for certain people. And stuff.


Another day, another pitstop in the Lord British Revival Tour. Today’s stop is at cdmag.com, where Ciny Yans talks to the once and future king about his imperial plans.

I began to play any online experience I could and was not very impressed. The online market has a long way to go.

A lot has changed in the games industry over the last couple years. Are you worried about not knowing what the market expects these days? Do you feel at all as though you’ve been “out of the loop?”

I knew that if I stayed out too long that would be the case. Strangely, the “state of the art” thinking seems to have progressed little. (Sadly) However, it has been great for me to sit out and rejuvenate, and think about the craft. I believe devoutly that my thinking has evolved in a healthy way. I feel more confident I can create the right next generation plan.

Oh, and just in case you thought Garriott had a sanity implant or something while he was away:

I own/am Lord British. A New Britannia shall rise!

I purchased Lunakhod 21 from the Russians. I am now the world’s only private owner of an object on a foreign celestial body. Though there are international treaties that say no government shall lay claim to geography off planet earth, I am not a government. Summarily, I claim the moon in the name of Lord British!


As usual, with anything happening in the Interest team, there is no communication from OSI to the players about this. There are, however, some clues in the latest Team Comments from Sage, dated April 3. He suggests that there are two ways to “integrate meaningful story into our games” as follows:

  1. “the story should be pervasive in the original design, and players should be encouraged to involve themselves in that story
  2. the story should be emergent based on behavior of the players, and the design should offer interesting choices so the story derives from player activities”

He focuses on the later as the better design, for various reasons, one of them being that the first design requires more work on the part of the players. They have to seek out ‘quests’, and then when the quests are finished, they have no way of attaining the ‘glory’ that they desire, because few, if any other players learn of their brave (or notorious) deeds. With the current system, players have to bother to write up the stories and then other players have to read the stories for a ‘hero’ to attain any REAL notoriety, and most players are too lazy to do either. Trust me, I know this to be true for a fact, I have been writing and reading the Great Lakes Community News for a while and believe me, players are l-a-z-y. Players are even worse when it comes to running events. Players that are brave and creative and agressive enough to run their own events are few and far between, though I aplaud their efforts with a standing ovation. I personally think that player events are cooler than Seer events just because players are more limited and it takes more creativity and ingenuity to run a player event.

On the other hand, giving players the incentive, and the tools to run their own events, rather than pouring all efforts into company run events has grand possibilities. During the World Faire last fall, I attended several sessions about
roleplaying, both in how to improve the current system, as well as ideas for how to give players tools to run their own events. These sessions were moderated by then Lead IGM Eidolon (who was let go at the same time as the cancellation of UO2 and whose presence and genious is sorely missed) and former Lead IGM Twilight, now known as Ignatz, who moved to the Development team some time ago. I was unable to attend the session by Sage on ‘returning the Virtues to Sosaria’, and I am sorry I missed it, I heard it was quite good. I came away from the World Faire with a renewed sense of hope for the roleplaying aspects of UO. We talked about such things as holding events that consisted of more than hack and slash (events for crafters and merchants, woot!), incentives for players to participate in events, both ingame (‘l33t items’ and rares, scoreboards posted at the local tavern) and out of game (scoreboards and ranking systems on uo.com). We also talked about systems to empower players to run their own events such as ‘quest stones’ and the ability to ‘rent’ certain locations ingame for events, and whether or not these powers could be implemented in a manner in which they were not exploitable for personal gain.

I await with bated breath the outcome of this change in the interest program, of which I have never been a ‘volunteer’, but in which I hold a vested interest, being a major contributor as a participant of the highest degree, and a chronicler of past events. I came to be a ‘roleplayer’ by default. I was told one too many times “What?? You don’t PvP? Oh, you must be one of those roleplayaz’.” My husband and I built the Cove Merchant’s Guild Blacksmith shop, which we made to be one of the first, and still one of the most popular, public venues on Great Lakes. We were ‘sponsored’ by Seer Degodefroi of ‘Rhysart the Hermit‘ fame, IMHO ‘the’ hardest working, most creative, and most popular Seer ever to wear the green robe. We were honored by having our shop ‘blessed’, or decorated by, then lead IGM Twilight in July of 1998. I went on to write for the Great Lakes Quest News and am currently updating news and working on content for the Crossroads of Britannia UO fansite. I also got involved in coordinating the Austin UO Player Lunches, where I met Eidolon, Calandryll, Sage and many others face to face.

I have faith that Cal and Sage have the best of intentions in this upcoming phase, whatever it might be. I honestly feel that they belong to the ‘brotherhood of players’ and really care about roleplaying in UO. I am just nervous about big changes, and especially in this arena. The interest program has been notoriously secretive and not forthcoming whatsoever, in the past, about how the system works and what it is and does exactly. I always feel deeply slighted whenever big changes happen and we, the players, the ones with the most vested interest in this program, are never informed, let alone consulted, when changes happen in the program. Back when Durga took over the whole volunteer program, it was my understanding that we were supposed to get a totally new and revamped interest program along with the revamped counselor program. The counselors got 500 new volunteers and a totally new system of applications and tools, and the Interest team got ZILCH. Since then, we lost several Seers with no explanation to the players, most notably, on GL Seer Scyllirya and then even Seer Degodefroi. Most recently we have lost Lead IGM Eidolon, who was in charge of the Trinsic Invasions and is also the genious behind Dungeon Khaldun and many of the new and wonderful places in Ilshenar such as the Serpentine Garden.

I was paranoid about UO:R and UO3D. I still avoid Trammel like the plague, but I have actually had a lot of fun exploring Ilshenar. My best hope is that “by the players, for the players” will be the saving grace of roleplaying in UO. My worst fear is that we have had close to doodly squat in support for roleplayers over the last 3 and a half years of UO, and now we will have even less. There has been quite a lot of discussion on the UO.com “Roleplaying, Events, and Scenarios” Board today. If you have an opinion or a constructive criticism or suggestion to give, I highly encourage you to voice it. Speak now or forever hold your peace. You can also email Calandryll@uo.com.

I have a feeling that we are about to see the death of the Interest Program in UO as we know it, the question remains as to whether it will also be the death of roleplaying in UO or whether it will be a new beginning…


Mys – chyf (alternate spelling – Raving Azn Nazi Lesbian Hellbitch, Pr0n Queen, Can Probably Beat You Up)

Liet – gard -is (alternate spelling – l33tgard15, Devil With The Red Dress On, Wants To Sit Like One Of The Boys)

Lum (well, it’s only one syllable and three letters, so that one was actually spelled correctly)

This service brought to you by Darktide.org, where, thanks to a wonderously and magically spelled letter writing campaign by everyone’s favorite gender-bending peekay Azile, rightously pissed peekays everywhere are now sending email to MyschEf. The problem here is that MyschEf does not actually exist, so the mail is falling into my amused and spellbound lap. Or email client, as the case may be. Here’s a sample.

Next time you decide to make a stupid dumbshit out of yourself with another bullshit post like you did on Asheron’s Call and Darktide being to blame, go fuck a tree.


You can’t even get factual data to support your opinion so you decide to find a mindless dumbass’s post and use that? Get a life.

So, MyschEf, wanting to show that people on Darktide are mindless dumbasses, found a post by a mindless dumbass on Darktide. MY GOD WHAT WAS SHE THINKING. Obviously she needs to be flogged.

Your posts sound like chinese communist propagranda ;P

I’d point out here that Myschyf already talked to one of the more reasonable Darktide personalities on CoD and apologized for assuming everyone on Darktide were Gear-using Godmode-exploiting KoC brain trusts, but that would spoil the fun. On with the show!

(note: myschyf@lumthemad.net, please.)


Nonetheless, beautiful or not, the timeline is very useful and, at times, interesting. Every time I go look at it again I learn something new. Take these series of unrelated events. At least, I think they are unrelated. But they look good together no?

1994 — TEN gets going, with Jack Heistand at the helm, formerly of EA Sports. Funding came from Vinod Khosla of Kleiner Perkins, who merged Outland with Optigon and pumped in $10 million.

1996 — TEN officially launches in September.

1999 — TEN ditches hardcore and persistent world gaming to become pogo.com.

1999 — UO2 announced with Starr Long, Damion Schubert & Jeremy Gaffney. Jack Heistand becomes general manager of Origin. The game is later renamed Ultima Worlds Online: Origin.

2001 — EA purchases pogo.com.

Note: the following is not in timeline — yet:

2001 — Citing a need to downscale after their purchase of pogo.com, EA cancels the widely-anticipated UO2. 85+ people from the UO2 development team leave Origin, including Jack Heistand.

Like I said those are probably unrelated events. I just found the sequence interesting.

Another thing I noticed yesterday in the timeline are development starting and release dates for our favorite three games: UO, EQ, and AC. Lets look at more dates:

1995 — Archetype Interactive begins Meridian 59, with Mike Sellers as a designer and the Kirmse brothers Chris and Andrew as programmers. Mike offers Raph Koster a job, but he declines because of a job offer from Origin. He recommends Damion Schubert for the job instead. Archetype and Meridian are later acquired by 3DO, where Rich Vogel acts as producer for a time.

Note: the following date comes from a Gamasutra PostMortem on AC written by Toby Ragaini.

pre-May 1995 — Asheron’s Call begins development.

Note: Back to the timeline now

1996 — Origin demos Ultima Online at E3 (note: knowing that Raph was Lead Designer from inception and he was hired in August of 1995 and that E3 happens in May, this means UO has now been in development for about six months)

1996 — John Smedley at Sony’s 989 Studios hired Brad McQuaid and Steve Clover to begin development on EverQuest.

1997 — Ultima Online launches commercially and breaks 100,000 users very quickly. Rich Vogel joins Origin before launch.

1997 — A development deal is signed for Asheron’s Call, to be developed by Turbine. Jeremy Gaffney is among those involved though he later leaves before it ships. Toby Ragaini is principal designer.

1998 — Verant’s EverQuest opens in beta.

1999 — EverQuest opens, and quickly becomes the second huge success in the newly dubbed “massively multiplayer online roleplaying game” (MMORPG) genre.

1999 — Nine months later, Asheron’s Call releases on the MS Gaming Zone.

I think sometimes we all forget how quickly UO was produced in relation to its two largest competitors. EQ took 3 years and AC 4 to develop and release. UO was done in just under two years. To give you a sort of comparison Shadowbane started development in 1998 and Horizons, Anarchy Online and DAoC in 1999.

Things that make ya go hmmmm. Hmmmm?

WHINE MORE NEWB? [Author: myschyf]

Only on the internet have I come across so many people that expect so much for so little. I always expected I’d have to pay for, well just about everything in life actually. You know, TANSTAAFL* and all that. When I started spending a lot of time online I began to see a lot of ‘free’ stuff. Free web hosting, free email, free mice, free mouse pads, free pens, free games, free message boards, free artwork, free this, that and the other thing. It seemed that every one had something they wanted to give me for free. Of course, it was often like that Buck-A-Book store. They never have any books I want — not even for a buck. Until I started writing for this site, I never wanted most of the stuff I was offered online — not even for free.

In the halcyon days of XRGaming, free hosting was really cool. It was even cooler when they sent me a check for fifty bucks. Not only was hosting free, but we could make money. We didn’t actually have a product and none of our readers were buying anything and I knew if I wasn’t clicking on the ads they probably weren’t either but I wasn’t about to call UGO up and ask them if they were out of their minds for sending XRGaming money every month. I was just happy they were doing it. So was everyone else. And so we went merrily along never thinking (or quickly banishing such thoughts were they to appear) of a future in which something for nothing might not be a reality.

A generation came of age during this time. A generation of people that expect something for nothing. I’m not talking about this site. You all seem very happy to contribute to the welfare of this site and I’m very grateful. But in the comments to the EQ Maps article, I see quite a few people thinking that they are still going to get something for nothing. I must admit I don’t understand their reasoning. Because the free sites are going away. We’ve been reporting on site closings almost daily for months now, and <a href=”http://www.lumthemad.net/news/1809.php”the closings show no sign of slowing down.

If that wasn’t enough links for you, I’m sure you will be happy to know I only had to go back one month, to the beginning of March, to link every word in that sentence. Still don’t get it?

Free sites won’t be around much longer. You are going to pay, whether you like it or not. Some of you will pay in the form of subscriptions, some in the form of donations, some in the form of pop-up ads. But pay you will. Free sites will eventually close up. The better sites will start charging. Even the sites that are not better will charge. But they won’t make enough to cover their costs and they will close too. Soon, if you want those maps, you’ll have to make them yourselves or pay for them.

This is not an altogether bad thing.

There is entirely too much garbage on the internet (you might consider this site as part of that garbage and I’m not going to argue with you.) Now granted, sites closing right and left isn’t going to make all the trash magically dissappear. On the other hand if all the places on the internet where you can get game maps consolidate into a handful of sites, this won’t upset me. Show me any video game out today and I’ll show you over a dozen sites devoted to that game. There are sites devoted to games that don’t even EXIST anymore. There are sites devoted to games that don’t actually have any content yet — these sites show content that players would like to be in the game (player concept art, anyone?).

I’m all about ‘you get what you pay for.’ Right now I don’t pay a damn thing for the content I view on a regular basis. I’m also all about supporting the sites I like. This is an attitude many of you would do well to adopt lest you lose the sites you like so much. No, there will not always be someone who will provide whatever for free. I guarantee you that the people who started sites, like us here at Lum’s, didn’t think about dealing with a future in which you didn’t get everything for free, and are stumbling about trying to find solutions… just like we are. The sooner you realize that and start supporting the sites you care about the better the chance those sites have of surviving this mess.

*TANSTAAFL “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” from the book The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlien


Verant must have picked up on the habit of its players calling their characters “toons”, because they’re going into the funny paper bidness. Stomped interviews Jim Lee, founder of Wildstorm Comics and artist for X-Men and other comics I would probably recognize were I to actually read comics and Brad McQuaid, who does some games here and there, about their new comic book that Lee and McQuaid are co-authoring.

If I recall correctly, we were talking with Jim, who is a big EQ fan, and the topic came up. We all pretty quickly agreed a comic based on EverQuest would be very cool, and so we moved forward from there.

Movies? TV shows? Lunchboxes? The world at large is not safe from elven cheesecake any longer, bucko. And you know that way lies madness and panic in the streets. We must stamp this menace out quickly! For the children.

Quarter to Three is reporting layoffs at theglobe.com, parent company of Computer Games magazine, Happy Puppy, and CDMag.com. The press release says that the offline publishing arm of theglobe.com won’t be affected, which no doubt made all the web people feel all warm and fuzzy minutes before being summoned to get their severance packages.

Qt3 is also pissed off at Fatbabies, which makes us happy puppies. Apparently Fatbabies (who in the past have, um, used our site for research purposes used Qt3 “for research purposes” as well. But it’s all good, because they consulted a lawyer, and they said it was OK to steal other people’s work as long as you give a full apology to the Chinese military. Or something.

And finally, just in case you were confused about what all the dot-coms are going to do now that ad banners are broken, CNN found out that Yahoo is selling pr0n.