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July 31, 2001

Sannio on 'Catching Up'

The following was posted to the UO.COM forums:

I want to post things of value to you; there�s little point in me posting some information that�s either too generic or has been said before in the exact same way. There will certainly be times when I post or explain something more that one way, and this kind of reiteration is a great way to help get a certain point or complicated idea across to people.

Part of my job, right now and for the next, oh, one to two months or so, will be �catching up" on what all the exact details are regarding playing UO, and what might be changing about those details. I'll have been meeting, and continue to meet, everyone on the UO team, to find out what they do, and how they do it, and how all they do affects so many other aspects of the game. Learning who does what and what does which and which affects who is a critical part of my job, along with how, when and why to explain any or all of what I learn.

I don't want to post any wrong information, or anything valueless. Right now, everyone�s got the basics of Publish 12, and that�s great. I could keep posting the same information, but I would consider that useless. It�s more important form me to find out the useful information, because that�s not only what I hope to give you, it�s what you need to play the game to what you feel is its fullest potential for you.

I�ll be happy to give out new information when I have it available to give to you, but unfortunately that may mean my early posting practices are slow, and I thank everyone in advance for their patience.

Online Community Coordinator, UO
Origin Systems

Posted by Hazard [EiC] at 3:20 PM

Publish 12 Update

Some of the latest from the UO.COM Boards:

We've been getting requests from players as to the status of the "Publish 12" update. Publish 12 was published to all shards on July 23rd, becoming active on most Shards early July 24th. Just as a note, while Vet Rewards are a big part of Publish 12, it also includes all those features & changes listed under the date "July 24th" in the Latest Update page at http://update.uo.com/latest.html. Included are changes to Vendors, Skill Modifications, a new GM rating tool, and a whole slew of necessary tweaks & adjustments to various in-game systems. These are all active, and have been since the 24th. And, of course, there's also Vet Rewards.

Vet Rewards--which are not active yet, by the way--is a very special situation, in that we're anticipating a huge response once they go live, and we're taking the time necessary to see that the hardware can withstand the deluge of players who want to try out the system on the first day. Once we're sure everything is ready, we'll activate Vet Rewards--although to make sure everything goes smoothly, we'll start with one Shard at a time. (In case you were wondering: we'll post updates when Vet Rewards will be activated.) Thanks for your patience.


Posted by Hazard [EiC] at 12:44 AM

July 26, 2001

Comments From Sannio

The following item of interest was just posted to the Comments From The Team Section on the UO website:

Comments from Sannio
Hi, everyone. I�m your new Online Community Coordinator, or �OCC,� and you can call me Sannio. Some of you may recall that name from my time as Seer Sannio on Chesapeake. I played for well over a year as Wixim the Mad, Lord Hughert, Korryn, Joye (Minax� patsy in the Trinsic invasion), and even Dupre, plus a bunch of other characters and monsters and such. Before that, for a short time, I served Napa Valley for a few months as Counselor PapaMan.

Players from Baja may know me as Nobody, Brother Huberty, or Nathan Harper, among others. In some way or another, I�ve been involved with a lot of groups & communities there, such as Britannia Search & Rescue, the Freeborn Press, Avalon, Lumaria, Golden, the Golden Players, the Baja Mage Tower, the Scorpions, the Kingdom of Dawn, and even UO Stratics� Baja section, plus a whole bunch more. (And I�m also sure that everyone who knows me from Baja also appreciates the brevity of these comments, as opposed to my usual lengthy ramblings!)

Before joining Origin Systems, I�ve done Web design, desktop publishing, illustrating, comic books, trading cards, and other creative things like that. Now that I�m Ultima Online�s OCC, I�ll be a kind of �communications middle-man� between all of the players and all the teams here at Origin working on UO. The Online Community Relations team and I will try to help keep you informed on all the latest updates & changes in the game�but don�t expect me to give away any event scenario secrets! :] I�ll also be trying to be your voice here at Origin, keeping everyone here informed in all the things that you care about or ways in which you�d like the game to advance & grow. You�ll probably see me most often posting on the UO.com message boards, and I�ll look forward to posting back and forth with everyone there.

Online Community Coordinator
Ultima Online
Origin Systems

Posted by Hazard [EiC] at 3:38 PM

July 24, 2001

OSI: Database Maintenance July 25th

The following was posted to the FYI page on the Ultima Online Web site:

Database Maintenance July 25th

Ultima Online will be unavailable from 3:00 am - 6:00 am PDT Wednesday, July 25th for database maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Posted by Keith at 11:49 PM

OSI: Housing Decay Reactivated

The following was posted to the FYI page on the Ultima Online Web site:

Housing Decay Reactivated

Housing decay has now been reinstated on all shards, to become active following their next downtime. The schedule for these maintenance periods is as follows:
  • East Coast shards, with the exception of Chesapeake, experienced an unscheduled downtime at 5:00 pm CDT, July 24th, and the housing decay became active at this time.
  • All West Coast shards will be taken down for their normal maintenance period at 5:00 am PDT, July 25th.
  • Japanese and Korean Shards will be taken down for their normal maintenance period at 8:00 am local time, July 25th (JST).
  • European Shards will be taken down for their normal maintenance period at 5:00 am local time, July 25th (GMT).
  • Siege Perilous will be taken down for its normal maintenance period at 5:00 am, July 25th (CDT).
  • Formosa will be taken down for its normal maintenance period at 8:00 am local Taiwan time, July 25th.
  • Oceania will be taken down for its normal maintenance period at 5:00 am local Sydney time, July 25th.
  • AOL Legends will be taken down for its normal maintenance period at 5:00 am EDT, July 25th.
For more information on housing decay and refreshing, see Home Maintenance.

Posted by Keith at 11:48 PM

OSI: Account Security

The following was posted to the FYI page on the Ultima Online Web site:

Account Security

As a reminder, no EA employee will ever ask for your UO password. If you are contacted in game or via email, IRC, or any other Internet messaging program by someone claiming to be an EA employee, do not give out your password. Furthermore, do not attempt to access or edit your account information through any third-party programs that may take you to a false representation of the Ultima Online website. The only valid URL for the Ultima Online account management website is http://www.ultima-registration.com

For additional information on computer security and safety, please visit http://support.uo.com/faq_1.html

Posted by Keith at 11:45 PM

A Wedding Between The Lady Nightmare and the Lord Merlinist

I read the following wedding announcement on the Ultima Online Calendar, here:

A Wedding Between The Lady Nightmare and the Lord Merlinist

Sponsor: The Lady Morgana of the Order of Leonine
Facet: Trammel
Location: A flowery place by YEW, gates will be opened from moonglow in trammel
Start Date: Aug 19 2001 9:00PM EST
End Date: Aug 19 2001 10:00PM EST
Recurrance: 1 Time Only

We would like to invite all our old time friends to join in this joyous event. Any and all are welcome.

The Order of Leonine is one of the oldest guilds in existence and would like to welcome all to this glorious event.

Posted by Keith at 10:59 AM

Ravenshire to Host Story Night

The following from Cantharis was recently posted by Cymidei Fier to UO Stratics:

Ravenshire to Host Story Night

This week Ravenshire is happy to announce that we will host the story telling night with Meredith the Bard. Come tell your tale of bravery, tragedy, or any other story that strikes your fancy!

You can even test your improvisational skills with Goldens famous Story roulette, wherein you get three words fromt he audience and make up a story with those three words in it. There will be an open bar as well as a BBQ. This event will take place Wed. the 25th 6:30 pm pst.

Come and share a tale!!!


Posted by Keith at 10:50 AM

Rangers of the Realm Elect Council

The following from the Stone Keeper was recently posted by Cymidei Fier to UO Stratics:

Rangers of the Realm Elect Council

It had been preordained. The Rangers of the Realm (RoR) would be led by a council of Mentors chosen in a free election from the members.

Not long after the Stone of RoR had been re-established, the Stone Keeper sent out the word. "All Rangers of RoR should ponder with care then vote for the most suitable names to form the first Council of RoR."

The voting process which had been thought to finish soon, lasted a full week as more and more people flocked to the Stone joining the renewed ranger clan (nearly 100 in the first week).

At week's end the votes were counted and the clan gathered in a forest clearing. They came from far and wide, as many as were able to attend. Some came at great difficulty and others were not able to be there due to the distances and time zones involved.

They came to be part of the swearing in ceremony for the first RoR Council and to give witness to the oaths that were made. The Council would be comprised of people with phenomenal talent, energy and compassion. The mind of Petrovo, the determination of Adian O'Rourke and the heart of Seraphim were chosen by the members to form the first Council of RoR.

In the end - all gave up a great round of cheer in true RoR fashion. "RAWRR"

Posted by Hazard [EiC] at 10:47 AM

Kingdom of Dawn to Raid Occlo

The following from Lord Will Avengem was recently posted by Cymidei Fier to UO Stratics:

Kingdom of Dawn to Raid Occlo

News of the recent Savage advances and a brief encounter with the Savage General have prompted the great Kingdom of Dawn to raid Occlo and dispatch its captors. With hope, the savage general will present himself and brought to justice!

Our first attack will commence at 7pm PST on July 22... Any support is welcome, but the general must be taken alive if there is to be any chance of revealing the source of the savage campaigns.

Safe Travels,
Lord Will Avengem

Posted by Keith at 10:46 AM

Faction News

The following from Amalacon was recently posted by Cymidei Fier to UO Stratics:

Faction News

Again CoM took the balance of the towns under direct control, applying thier force of will and taxing the citizens as the see fit. Britain and Minoc remain under Shadow Lord Control.

Several of my Council brothers complained at the lack of intrest in raiding the still unrepaired CoM stronghold. It was an uneventful guarding period for the most part unlike the hey-day battles of the past that left the streets of Magi, the castles of Britain and the forests of Yew littered with bodies. KoRn Leading the Newly Revamped CoJ had the strongest presence as well as the Long time CoM's UMA. Ariak even deigned to come by for some guard duty.

Council of Mages
Death Jester$

Posted by Keith at 10:43 AM

Fairhaven Village Scavenger Hunt

The following from Mayor Silkon of Fairhaven Village was recently posted by Cymidei Fier to UO Stratics:

Fairhaven Village Scavenger Hunt

Come one come all to the Fairhaven Scavenger hunt on Saturday July 28 at 7:00 p.m. PST. Do ye think ye know the history of the lands better then anyone else if ye do grab 2 friends and come try and become the winner of the 500K in gold prize for being the first to complete the clues to each location.

  • There will be 3 and only 3 people per team.
  • Each team most register by Friday July 27 at 9 p.m. PST.
  • Each team can use any rune at the fairhaven rune library to get to the places they need to find; IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED YOU USE THE LIBRARY.
  • The first team to find the 10 different locations from the clues and return back to Fairhaven wins 500K.
  • A good knowledge of the Britannia history is recommended.
  • Some locations are extremely hazardous so be prepared to defend your life against whatever may lurk in the dark.
Drinks and socializing will be done during and after the event so come one come all and enjoy a night in the Fairhaven Village. We highly encourage other player run cities to have teams to add to the excitement, we will see you there.

For questions and answers please contact us at ICQ 60726000 or email at silkon88@hotmail.com or visit our website at http://www.FHvillage.com

Posted by Keith at 10:42 AM

Fairhaven Village Seeks Necromantic Sword to Fell Lich Commander

The following was recently posted by Cymidei Fier to UO Stratics:

Fairhaven Village Seeks Necromantic Sword to Fell Lich Commander

Fairhaven Village has experienced many strange events over the past few months linked to a sinister lich lord. Now the villagers are very close to discovering a means to confront this mysterious evil.
Last night the warriors of Fairhaven set out on a quest to find an artifact that would let them destroy the evil Lich that had been terrorizing the countryside. First, the party, led as always by Fizban, set off to the star room to meet a fabled oracle who was believe to have knowledge that could help them.

Although the creature spoke in disjointed riddles when found, the canny villagers were able to deduce that they needed three things: a quantity of shadow ore, a tome with incantations related to Necromancy in it, and the special skill of a certain smith in Jhelom named Mordoc.

These crucial ingredients could supposedly be used to forge a sword of sufficient magical strength and nature to defeat the Lich. The villagers acquired the ore easily enough, and managed to find the tome within the abandoned lab in the center of the hedge maze.

They then brought these two items to Mordoc, the smith in Jhelom, who agreed to forge for them a custom sword of superior strength. After preparing the materials and selecting the right incantation from the book, Mordoc moved about his business quickly and finally produced a katana of amazing power. Hopefully, this weapon will let us defeat this menace once and for all!
Thankye Nether

Posted by Keith at 10:39 AM

New Baja IRC Channel

The following was recently posted by by Cymidei Fier to UO Stratics:

New Baja IRC Channel

Are you interested in chatting with other Baja players? Perhaps making new friends, allies, and connections. Consider using the new Stratics IRC channel #baja


Posted by Keith at 10:37 AM

OSI: Veteran Rewards Update

The following was posted to the FYI page on the Ultima Online Web site:

Veteran Rewards Update

As a reminder, we will be monitoring all public shards once they have received Publish 12 to see that the publish is running optimally before we will activate veteran rewards. Please note that this means players will not be able to choose rewards immediately once the publish is received. The rewards system will be activated systematically on pre-determined shards, and we will post a schedule once it is determined. We are working to see that this delay will be as short as possible, and we appreciate your patience.

Posted by Keith at 10:34 AM

July 23, 2001

The Golden Brew Players Present...

Thanks to Mirabel for the annoucement artwork!

Posted by Keith at 11:42 PM

Scottish UO Meet Reminder - Sat July 28th

The following was posted by Joshua Rowan to UO Stratics:

Scottish UO Meet Reminder - Sat July 28th

The following reminder was sent to us by Iain in regard to the Scottish UO Meet coming up this coming Saturday:
Just a quick reminder to everyone...

This Saturday see's the first of hopefully many Scottish meet-up's for UO players on the Europa shard.

We're looking at meeting on 28th July, in 'Espionage' on Victoria Street (just off George IV bridge) in Edinburgh, at 3pm. If people don't know Edinburgh I shall be waiting at the left hand side of the WH Smith entrance in Waverley Train Station at 2:30pm - I shall be leaving to head to 'Espionage' at 3pm. The reason for Espionage is that it has large booths with large comfy leather seats that can easily accomodate 10 people each. 'Espionage' is a 6 floor labyrnth of rooms, corridors and bars - so it can be quite easy to get lost if you don't arrive early. The place where we will (hopefully) be sitting is on the ground floor to the right after you walk along the corridor at the entrance. If you are still having problems, contact me - iainwatson@yahoo.com - and I shall give you my mobile number. We will also all have name badges, so it shouldn't be too hard to spot us.

There's talk of moving on to a club later at night, but I'll leave that to the day to arrange, coz not everyone's keen on it.

Could you please leave a note here if you wish to attend with your RL name, main character name, guild (if any), and pigeon/mail number. If your too shy to leave your RL name here send me a pigeon on 9921764 or email - iainwatson@yahoo.com - with your details...

The Specifics:
Where: Espionage Bar, Victoria Street, Edinburgh, Scotland
Date: Saturday, 28th July, 2001
Time: 3 pm

Coordinator: Mentazm
ICQ 9921764

Posted by Keith at 4:31 PM

InsideUO Updated for UO3D

The following from Alazane was posted by Joshua Rowan to UO Stratics:

InsideUO Updated for UO3D

The following news comes to us from Alazane, the creator of InsideUO:
InsideUO should now support the Third Dawn map. Just right click on the map and it is the selection at the bottom. If you have any problems with it, let me know. InsideUO also now displays the contents of Skills.mul, allows you to create phrases with the fonts, and is sporting a new art viewer window that should make life a little easier.

I'd also like to get names in for the Gumps, so if anyone is feeling bored and knows all of the names, please e-mail me a list of the number and the name of each gump.

What is InsideUO? From his website - "InsideUO is a 32bit Windows application designed to reveal the innermost details of the client side of Ultima Online. Everything that is provided from InsideUO, from the static images to the sounds, come directly from UOs data files. Hence, InsideUO is of no use without said data files." To check it out for yourself head on over to Alazane's InsideUO.

Posted by Keith at 4:30 PM

OSI: Publish Update - All Remaining Shards

The following was posted to the FYI page on the Ultima Online Web site:

Publish Update - All Remaining Shards

Publish 12 will be published to all remaining shards today, to be active following their next maintenance period. The schedule for these maintenance periods is as follows:
  • All East Coast and Central shards (with the exception of Chesapeake) will be taken down for an unscheduled maintenance at 2:00 pm CDT, July 23rd.
  • Japanese and Korean Shards will be taken down for their normal maintenance period on at 8:00 AM local time, July 24th (JST).
  • European Shards will be taken down for their normal maintenance period at 5:00 am local time, July 24th (GMT).
  • Siege Perilous will be taken down for its normal maintenance period at 5:00 am, July 24th (CDT).
  • Formosa will be taken down for its normal maintenance period at 8:00 am local Taiwan time, July 24th.
  • Oceania will be taken down for its normal maintenance period at 5:00 am local Sydney time, July 24th.
  • AOL Legends will be taken down for its normal maintenance period at 5:00 am EDT, July 24th.
The changes will be added to Latest Game Updates once the publish is active on all shards.

Posted by Keith at 4:25 PM

OSI: Housing Decay Alerts

There were recently a string of Housing Alerts on the FYI page of the Ultima Online Web site. I was away from a computer, but it looks like OSI has things well in hand. Here's the posts, from earliest to latest:

Housing Decay Alert

Due to an issue causing permanent buildings to decay, all shards with Publish 12 (Chesapeake, Baja, Sonoma, Napa Valley, and Pacific) were given an automatic housing refresh last night (July 19th), and the affected buildings will be refreshed manually until the issue is addressed.

In addition to this, housing decay on all remaining Ultima Online shards has been turned off over the weekend. This means that all homes on these shards will be refreshed to like new status, and will remain so until further notice.
We will give at least 24 hours notice before the decay is turned back on, and we will update the patch message to ensure that all players are notified. We apologize for any inconvenience, and urge all players to check the patch messages before logging in to avoid missing important information.

Improperly Condemned Homes

We would like to assure all players whose homes are currently marked as improperly condemned that they will not lose their homes at this time. The housing decay is not active currently, and the problem causing homes to appear as improperly condemned will be addressed as soon as possible.

We will update further once this has been fixed.

House Placement and House Transfer

The auto refresh that was implemented on all shards has affected the ability for current house owners to place or have new houses transferred to them. The development team has been notified and is working to resolve this. We apologize for the inconvenience and hope to resolve this as quickly as possible.

Housing Decay Reactivated July 24th

Tomorrow afternoon (July 24th) at 11:00 pm CDT, we will be reactivating house decay on all shards. Houses currently marked as condemned will be uncondemned before the decay is turned back on, and will not collapse when the system is reactivated. Please note that once the decay rate is turned back on, all players will need to refresh their homes as they normally would.

For information on housing decay rates, see http://guide.uo.com/house_6.html.

Posted by Keith at 4:24 PM

New Avalon Gear

Cafe Press recently made some additional goods available for it's users, such as some hats, a tank top, a tote bag, boxer shorts. I jumped all over this and set up some more Avalon and ANO merchandise items. Check out what's now available at http:/www.cafepress.com/avaloncod and http:/www.cafepress.com/avalonano.

Posted by Keith at 12:00 PM

New BS&R Gear

Cafe Press recently made some additional goods available for it's users, such as some hats, a tank top, a tote bag, boxer shorts. I jumped all over this and started setting up some more BS&R merchandise items. Check out what's now available at http:/www.cafepress.com/bsandr.

Posted by Keith at 12:00 PM

July 21, 2001

Event for Saturday July 28th...


Come one come all to the Fairhaven Scavenger hunt on Saturday July 28 at 7:00 p.m. PST. Do ye think ye know the history of the lands better then anyone else? If ye do, grab 2 friends and come try and become the winner of the 500K in gold prize for being the first to complete the clues to each location.


1. There will be 3 and only 3 people per team.

2. Each team most register by Friday July 27 at 9 p.m. PST.

3. Each team can use any rune at the fairhaven rune library to get to the places they need to find; IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED YOU USE THE LIBRARY.

4. The first team to find the 10 different locations from the clues and return back to fairhaven wins 500K.

5. A good knowledge of the Britannia history is recommended.

6. Some locations are extremely hazardous so be prepared to defend you life against whatever may lurk in the dark.

Drinks and socializing will be done during and after the event so come one come all and enjoy a night in the Fairhaven Village. We highly encourage other player run cities to have teams to add to the excitement, we will see you there.

Fairhaven Village is located in trammel by the Yew moongate, for questions and team registration please contact me either by ICQ 60726000 or email at silkon88@hotmail.com or visit our website at www.FHvillage.com

Posted by Hazard [EiC] at 2:01 PM

July 20, 2001

Calandryll: Scenario Analysis

The following was posted by Teich Dragon to UO Stratics:

Calandryll: Scenario Analysis

Calandryll made his promised synopsis for the orc quest here:
A few weeks ago, based on some requests from players, I promised I'd write a synopsis of the scenario, describe the goals, and write my view of what we accomplished. Ask and ye shall recieve:

The Savage Empire Scenario
Scenario Description
Strange creatures (the savages) are driving the orcs out of their homes, which is causing the orcs to attack the player cities. The savages' reasons for doing so is not revealed...yet. Note, while the scenario title bears the same name as the single player Worlds of Ultima game and was inspired by it, it is not based on that game.

The Savage Empire Scenario had 6 major goals:

1. Introduce players to the concept of scenarios and set the expectations.
a. Since everyone reading this knows what a scenario is by now, I think we achieved this one. :)

2. Update new content into the game within a context (story) on an ongoing and uninterrupted basis (no delays or off-weeks once a scenario starts).
a. With the exception of the Chesapeake shard, there were no delays, off-weeks, or interruptions in the scenario.
b. We did split week 4 into two weeks (the orc bomber was originally supposed to be with the orc chopper and town attacks in week 4) to give QA more time to test, but most players didn't even realize the change to the schedule and it was a good example of fluid design.

3. Make sure new content is fun and useful and try to include as many play-styles as possible.
a. Most feedback from players regarding the new monsters (especially the orc scouts and savages) was very positive. The new AI introduced worked well and players seemed to enjoy the challenged they presented. Good AI, with respects to monsters in a video game, does not mean "make the monster more difficult"...it means "make the monster fun and challenging."
b. The interaction of the bola with savage riders (need to knock them off the ridgeback to tame the ridgeback) helped create some grouping, while not forcing it on those that like to solo.
c. Some players played the scenario because of the story and role-playing. Some played it for the loot. Others enjoyed searching for the orc encampments and exploring the new dungeon. All of that is good.
d. Most of the new monsters were texture changes. The artists did a great job making sure everything looked good as far as the Third Dawn models and most of the 2d replacement art looked good.

4. Introduce as few bugs as possible, fix any bugs by the next update, and don't impact other development.
a. We published the shards nine times. During those nine publishes, we had no reverts and with the exception of the merge issue with publish 12 (which was not a problem caused by scenario code and only occurred on Chessie), we did not impact development at all.
b. There were only two bugs of major concern released as part of the scenario. One was a shard crasher (happened once, was fixed an hour later) and the other was an issue with stealing caused by the orc mask (again, fixed within 12 hours of the first GM report).
c. The majority of other bugs were fixed by the next week's update (what few there were) and overall, considering the amount of content and nine shard publishes in a row, our QA team did a bang-up job catching the bugs during testing before any of you ever saw them.
d. We also had a lot of help from folks such as Prophet, Evocare, Vex, Adrick, and Groover working on things such as the looting rights change, client patches, making savage paint work (you have no idea how many changes we made to code that had not been touched in years to make this happen), and general design ideas. The team pitched in a lot while continuing to work on their systems.

5. Create a dynamic outcome based solely on code and systems
a. While the dynamic outcome got a bad rap, actually, the code worked perfectly, the timing issue is what caused concern. The fact that it ended too quickly was a major disappointment for many players and one we plan to resolve in future scenarios. But, the way in which the code reacted to the players' actions proved that we can code dynamic outcomes without having to manually update or force anything.

6. Take the feedback from players on the first scenario and incorporate them into the next scenario.
a. I'd like to concentrate on the last one. I've been reading the feedback and here is what I believe were the major concepts players wanted more of.
- i. More in-game fiction. Books, scrolls, etc.
- ii. Less camping...have some monsters spawn in random locations.
- iii. More story in general (explanations and reasons). This is more a product of the fact that the Savage Empire scenario was more of a set-up scenario. You'll learn a lot more in future scenarios.
- iv. More craftables and less that require fighting to get the resources. While I believe that having some craftables require fighting (again, encourages community group play - sorta the point of play an MMORPG) not all should.
- v. Make sure the dynamic outcome lasts longer. This one goes without saying. :)
b. While not all of these will make it into the next scenario, the feedback is useful and could influence future scenarios. Did I miss anything?

-Jonathan "Calandryll" Hanna
Designer, Ongoing Content

Posted by Keith at 12:09 AM

July 19, 2001

OSI: Publish 12 on West Coast Shards

The following was posted to the FYI page on the Ultima Online Web site:

Publish 12 on West Coast Shards

We have published the changes listed in Testing for Next Update to the West Coast shards (Baja, Napa Valley, Pacific, and Sonoma) during this morning�s normal maintenance period (July 19th). We will monitor these shards closely, and will be publishing to the remaining shards once we have determined the publish is operating optimally.

We will update further as to the publish schedule for the remaining shards, and the changes will be added to Latest Game Updates once the publish is active on all shards.

Posted by Keith at 11:59 PM

OSI: Chesapeake and West Coast House Refresh

The following was posted to the FYI page on the Ultima Online Web site:

Chesapeake and West Coast House Refresh

Due to an issue causing permanent buildings to decay, and in order to prevent players on the Chesapeake and West Coast shards from losing homes due to this issue, all houses on these shards have been automatically refreshed today (July 19th CDT). We appreciate your understanding, and apologize for any inconvenience.

Posted by Keith at 11:59 PM

July 18, 2001

Raph Koster Interviewed by Computer Games Online

Computer Games Online posted an interview with Raph "Designer Dragon" Koster, one of the creators of Ultima Online. The article is here, and you can read the introductory text, below:

Rapping with Raph
Star Wars Galaxies point man Raph Koster talks about online games
by Mark Asher

Raph Koster is the point man on Star Wars Galaxies, the LucasArts and Sony Online game that folks are predicting will be the first million-subscriber online game. As "Designer Dragon," he was also one of the creators of Ultima Online and is a veteran MUDder. Although unable to discuss specifics on the Star Wars game, he was willing to talk with us about online role-playing games in general.
I feel the need to point out Raph's personal "shout out" to a fine group of native Baja players. When he was asked, "What was UO's biggest triumph?" part of his response included the following (I added the bold text):
I think that we were successful in making a more dynamic environment than what was the norm. It wasn't anywhere near what we'd hoped for, but it was enough, I think. We got that amazing player economy, we got those player towns, and theater troupes�shout out to the Golden Brew players here�and just this stunning array of guilds and the like. I don't know that the level of community involvement, and of so many microcommunities, has manifested anywhere else.
Congratulations, Golden Brew players! (Click to find out more the Town of Golden and the Golden Brew).

Posted by Keith at 8:27 PM

Rangers of the Realm Return

The following was posted by Cymidei Fier to UO Stratics:

Rangers of the Realm Return

Rangers of the Realm Return to Baja! This is an eye witness account of the establishment of a new ranger outpost from an anonymous source.
The day started like most others but something would happen and it would become a day to remember. The finishing touches on the log house had been completed the night before and if all went well this humble abode would become a hub for one of the most dynamic forces in the land.

The day dragged on and anxious folk stopped by to see if any news had been heard ("No nothing yet").

Then as daylight turned to dusk, an elderly man walked slowly out of the forest. His pace was deliberate with his eyes and ears wary for any sign of danger. In spite of his years and the weariness of a long trek, the responsibility he carried kept him alert.

Reaching the cabin he paused briefly to observe the path he had taken from the woods. No one approached. He felt confident his arrival was unobserved.

The fact that no one followed and that his trip was uneventful did not really surprise him. No one would ever suspect him or imagine the value contained in his pack.

The man was the Stone Keeper and he carried a precious vessel which permitted him to transport the Guildstone of Baja's once largest and most powerful clan.

The Rangers of the Realm (RoR) have reunited and returned. RAWRR!
Thanks and good luck!

Posted by Keith at 8:15 PM

Scenario Comments By Calandryll

The following was posted by Teich Dragon to UO Stratics:

Scenario Comments By Calandryll

Calandryll also replied to to some comments about the last scenario here. The text inverted are questions/suggestions from the players, so please don't get confused about it:
--First, great feedback!!!
--I pulled out the major points of each of your points to respond to. If I took something out of context, please correct me.

"If neither outcome is worse, then there is no reason to favor a certain outcome at all -- or even participate at all.
--I don't agree. Perhaps neither outcome is worse, but different players will benefit from different outcomes. For instance, let's say two outcomes in a fight for the city of Skara are: a) Skara becomes a dungeon (meaning monsters spawn there) or b) skara is saved (meaning you can bank there). For some players, the idea of a new dungeon is preferable, while to others, Skara is their home and they want it back the way it was. I'm sure I could think of a better example, given enough time. What I meant by my original statement was that outcomes where the player-base as a whole "loses" are a bad idea.

Perhaps the worst outcome should come from doing nothing??"
--I like that idea a lot. In fact, that is what happens now, if players don't retake the towns, they will be forever under attack. Doing nothing does result in a negative outcome until they do something.

During this scenario I felt a little bit that the new content (which took the form of new items many times) was used as a crutch to help support a story that could not be fully expressed in game.
--Actually, it was more that much of the story was not told on purpose. Again, think of this scenario as the opening chapter of a book. For instance, lets say that book starts out with an invasion of a town by marauding monsters. Do you (or the characters in the book) learn in the first chapter who caused that invasion? Usually not. Usually, you have to read a few more chapters before you can put the pieces together. In-game fiction didn't fit in this scenario...in the next one (the next chapter if you will), it does.

"This scenario needed to be far more dynamic. There were basically three outcomes: orcs, savages, or neither."
--For us to do what you propose in the first scenario would have been the absolute worst thing we could have done for a first pass. What you have listed in your second example is the result of an evolution of what we did in the first one. It is extremely easy to make that diagram, even easy to fill it in, but as you said, infinitely harder and more time consuming to design, code, balance, and test it. The fact that the first, fairly simple dynamic outcome did not go well is proof that trying to do something that complicated would have been disastrous. Too often, in our eagerness to flex our design muscles, we design above our own experience. It�s like trying to run before one has learned how to walk (to quote Tyrant). :)
--Is it a goal to have a scenario like that? Actually, I'm not sure if they ever need to be that complicated...but even if I did, they won't be like that for quite some time until we learn more.

-Jonathan "Calandryll" Hanna
Designer, Ongoing Content

Posted by Keith at 8:05 PM

Celebrity Chat Log with Cal & Team

The following was posted by Joshua Rowan to UO Stratics:

Celebrity Chat Log with Cal & Team

We are currently having DNS issues with our UOHoC Site, but in the meantime, I wanted to make sure you were all able to read yesterday's Celebrity Chat with Calandryll, Gromm, Augur, and Vex from the Ongoing Content Team. Here is a snippet from it:

Zeromus_ - Is part of the scenarios project to give UO a permenant active fiction to accompany it (say, through the other power indicated in the fiction which went with this scenario) or do you plan to stick to more compact story arcs and self-contained Scenarios?
Calandryll_OSI - Absolutely. The scenarios aren't meant to be a bunch of short stories... many future scenarios will play off the ones before it. Think of the scenarios as
Calandryll_OSI - chapters in a book...a book that you get to play a part in...you're just finished chapter one.
For now, you can all read it at our Temp Location. I will let you all know ASAP once the main UOHoC site is working again.

Posted by Keith at 8:02 PM

July 17, 2001

OSI: Hanse Ups the Rate of Big Fish

Hanse, one of the UO Live Designers for Ultima Online, posted the following message to the Development Board, here:

Re: Fishing, any chance of it being worthwhile? [re: Gung_Farmer]

Yes, the big fish was complained about because it was too hard to fish up. We made it more common (along the lines of a treasure map, but it requires less skill). It had a typo and had a very tough fishing up percentage (folks were spending 8 hours without fishing up one). It was something like a 0.01% chance. It was upped to roughly 3% or so successful attempts (that's a very rough estimate). That change was made prior to the taxidermy kit being available for purchase.

UO Live Designer

Posted by Keith at 10:31 AM

July 16, 2001

OSI: Publish 12 Update

The following was posted to the FYI page on the Ultima Online Web site:

Publish 12 Update

Since activating Publish 12 on the Chesapeake shard in late June, we have been monitoring the shard closely, and we are targeting to release the final week of the event scenario publish to the Chesapeake shard on Tuesday, July 17th. Once it is determined that there are no unforeseen issues involving the final week of the Savage Empire scenario and Publish 12, a schedule will be set for the release of Publish 12 to the other shards.

Publish 12, which includes the veteran rewards system, is our highest priority, and we hope to see it released to all shards soon. We are looking to roll out Publish 12 to all shards by late next week, but please understand that due to testing considerations and time-sensitive problems that may arise, all schedules may be subject to change.

A list of the changes included in this publish can be found in Testing for the Next Update.

Considering the complexities of the rewards system, we will wait until all public shards have received Publish 12 before the veteran rewards system will be activated. Once all shards are running Publish 12, and we are confident that the veteran rewards system is functioning properly, we will begin to activate veteran rewards systematically on pre-determined shards. Please note that this means that players will not be able to choose rewards immediately once the publish is received. We are working to see that this delay will be as short as possible, and we appreciate your patience.

Posted by Keith at 7:28 PM

July 14, 2001

OSI Harassment Policy Update

The following was posted yesterday by citizenKane2 to UO Stratics:

OSI Harassment Policy Update

The harrassment policy of OSI on the official UO website has been updated.Cynthe posted this on the official UO Boards:
Ever since I came into the UO community, harassment has been a major issue - especially on this board (remembers the never ending harassment thread). Part of it was the fact that there were so many instances of it, and part of it was the fact that our stance was not as cut-and-dry as it should have been.

The way some harassment calls in the past were handled led some people to feel that they were as likely to be punished for using the harassment tool as the harassers themselves. This led to people who were angry about being harassed, but who were afraid to use the tool to do anything about it.

This was a problem.

So it became a goal to see that the harassment policy was updated, and that we made it more clear just what the tool is for, how it's used, and what happens when it's used. We are also updating the policy internally, and our GMs have been in on the process.

For the most part, the policy is unchanged, with the exception of one thing: grief play. In the past, players have been asked to page in for grief play under "Other" instead of "Harassment", since the grief play does not show up in the logs that are reviewed by the Harassment team. However, to make it easier for the players, all harassment, whether physical or verbal, will now be addressed under the Harassment tool.

The important thing to note is that grief play still does need to be witnessed to be verifiable, so if you are paging about physical harassment (in other words, harassment that does not fall into the verbal category and cannot be verified through a chat log), then it needs to be done right away. The GM's cannot determine grief play if it is no longer occuring once they can get there.

This policy has been discussed by many departments here before making it live on the site today, and I'm interested in getting your feedback.

You can find it here:
Additional information from Teich Dragon was posted today:
Cynthe On The New Harassment Policy

Adressing a lot of player concerns of missusing the new harassment policy, here is a post from Cynthe about that.

I put in the original questions, so you won't get confused again:
Cynthe, I'm sure that consolidating the various methods of reporting problems is a step in the right direction and the fact that the GM's have been a part of this move is encouraging. With that said though, I don't think that this addresses what the real problem in UO is (as far as harassment in general goes).

You are absolutely correct that in the past GM responses to harassment calls have often subjected the "caller" to more problems than those doing the harassing. And, as a result, people tend to just try and ignore it, but that only works to an extent. In my opinion, there are two MAJOR problems with OSI's current harassment policy.

One. You have set the standard for determining harassment much too high and those that are the "professional" harassers, can quote to you chapter and verse of your policy. I've seen some that have a macro explaining all the steps that "the innocent party" must take before the harasser can be punished. Your "move away from the harassment" standard allows the harassers to stake out their territory and virtually do whatever they desire to you while you are there (if they don't cross the race line, that is). If you don't like it, you have to leave. Well, that's a victory for the little harassers and it forces the "innocent" to have to depart from an area that they very well might have a reason for being at. Telling people to "turn on the obscenity filter" to avoid repetitive obscene language is unfair to the "innocent" because that filter system causes them to lag. So, once again, the harasser has won and gets away with impacting the "innocent's" play. All supported, btw, because of OSI's enforcement policy. Right along with this is the fact, that under your current policy, the "professional" harassers can harass virtually ad infinitum...they do it, you must leave. They have a problem only if they follow you. If you run into them later, they get another free shot, and you have to leave. Why? Because in neither of the encounters, is that one instance (forget the fact that this happens everyday), in and of itself, sufficient to meet OSI's standard of harassment.

Two, the ignore feature, which would solve many harassment problems, not only causes you to see no speech whatsoever from the individual, it also prevents the chars from showing up in "all names". And while that may seem insignificant to you, it's important to someone that is constantly involved in PvP. And though I have no evidence of this because I don't use it for stated reason, I suspect that the ignore feature also causes lag (just as the obscenity feature does).

So, combining these is important I guess. But, how does it address the real problem?
Answer from Cynthe:
I do see your point, and it's one that was discussed at length. But in every case of policy, there are two major things to consider.

One - does it do its job well enough? In other words, will this policy solve the problems it is meant to solve, and help innocent people be able to fight back against harassment?

And two - will it cause more problems than it solves? Players can also harass other players by exploiting the harassment feature. Picture a guild that wants to have a specific guy banned from the game. Guild members take turns going up to the guy and mooning him until he finally tells them to *#% off. Then they page harassment for his having said something rude. If we didn't have some kind of standard for seeing that the harasser was intetnionally being rude, and intended to continue doing so, then this kind of thing could happen every day.
In reply to:

Right along with this is the fact, that under your current policy, the "professional" harassers can harass virtually ad infinitum...they do it, you must leave.
This isn't necessarily true - note that in the policy it says that the genuine attempt to get them to stop could also consist of you asking them to stop.

It may seem silly to you to say to someone who is harassing you, "Excuse me, but you are getting no advantage out of killing my horses, and it's making me unable to play. This is getting to the point of harassment - please stop!" But without seeing evidence of some sort of insistence on the harasser's part to continue the harassment, there's often little that can be done.

Picture a driver who gets pulled over for driving 90 in a 55 mph zone. If there were no speed limit sign posted, he might get off the hook, because he could claim that he'd never been told the speed limit was only 55. And this is a good thing, right? Otherwise, law enforcement could simply lower the speed limit wherever they chose, not put up a sign about it, and pull over every car that enters the area for speeding.

In harassment cases, a player could get off the hook if it could be proved that he or she may not have realized they were harassing someone. And in some cases it could be true - some players simply are used to acting a certain way, and don't even realize that their behavior is being seen as harassment. So we ask players to take the first step, whether that be leaving the area or asking the harassing player to stop the harassing actions - either way, we need to be sure that it was made clear to the harassing player that they are harassing someone. That way the player knows, and the GM knows, that if the behavior continued, then the harassing player knew full well that it was being considered harassment.

Our goal is to find the best balance possible between making sure that players can fight harassment, without innocent players having to play in fear of being labeled as harassers when they are not.

Community Manager
Ultima Online
ORIGIN Systems

Posted by Keith at 11:19 AM

Scenario FAQ By Calandryll

The following two items were posted by Teich Dragon to UO Stratics:

Scenario FAQ By Calandryll

Here is little Scenario FAQ by Calandryll:
Q: Will the items, monsters, and points-of-interest remain in the game once the scenario is over?
A: Yes. With minor exceptions (such as the frightend orc) all of the items, monsters and POIs will remain in the game after the scenario ends. The idea here is to create lasting content that goes beyond the story.

Q: How do the stories on BNN work?
A: The stories are posted about one week before the scenario publish they relate to. The purpose of the stories is to provide you with the context for the updates and to give you clues as to what to expect next.

Q: How often will you do these and how long does each Scenario last?
A: We expect to continue doing these as long as players enjoy them. Generally each scenario will last between 6 to 8 weeks, with about one month (give or take a week) inbetween each one.

Q: Will the scenarios tie into each other?
A: Many will yes. The idea is to create an over-arching story, not just a bunch of short stories.

-Jonathan "Calandryll" Hanna
Designer, Ongoing Content

Posted by Keith at 11:01 AM

OSI: Baja and Sonoma Shards

The following two items were posted today to the Shard Issues page on the Ultima Online Web site:

Baja and Sonoma Shards 9:18AM CST (GMT -06:00)

We will be taking the Baja and Sonoma shards down in order to perform some necessary maintenance. We expect this maintenance to take approximately 1.5 hours. We will update you again should there be any changes to the schedule.

Baja Returns 10:20AM CST (GMT -06:00)

The Baja Shard has returned to service and is now available. We apologize for the inconvenience this interruption may have caused.

Posted by Keith at 10:52 AM

OSI: Ultima-Online Celebrity Chat

The following was posted to the FYI page on the Ultima Online Web site:

Ultima-Online Celebrity Chat

Join us Monday, July 16th at 7:00PM CDT in #Ultima-Online for another Ultima Online Celebrity Chat, sponsored by Stratics. Guests this week will be Calandryll, Gromm, and Augur from the UO Scenario/Content Design Team. Stop in and ask them your questions about their current and upcoming scenarios and projects.

Never been on Stratics IRC before, click the link below for more details.

Ultima-Online Celebrity Chat

Posted by Keith at 10:49 AM

July 13, 2001

Orcs Win Against Savages?

There's several rumors flying around that the ongoing "Orcs versus Savages" Quest Scenario is over, and that the Orcs have won the war. There has been no official word on the possiblility of the ending of this conflict, and our eyes are rivited to BNN for confirmation or denial of the rumors.

Some citizens have claimed that there are dramatically less Savages in Britannia, and some suggest there are none left, such as Moorrock on the Savage Truth message board: "[S]eems the orcs and humans won, the Savages are gone completely that i have seen from baja."

Others, however, offer up contrary observations, such as Honda on the Kingdom of Dawn message forums: "Actually I don't think it's over just yet. I just made a trip to Occlo to mark some runes and the place is swamped with Savages."

We'll post more on the Orcs versus Savages conflict as it becomes available.

Posted by Hazard [EiC] at 7:55 AM

Savage Special Attack

The following was posted by citizenKane2 to UO Stratics:

Savage Special Attack

Confirmation from Calandryll (UO [Designer], Ongoing Content) that savages have a special attack when mounted on ridgebacks on the official UO Boards:
Regarding the ridgebacks... Actually, when mounted, the savage riders perform a special stomp attack that damages everyone near them and knocks them down. Once they got knocked off, they can't do the special attack.

Posted by Hazard [EiC] at 7:39 AM

July 12, 2001

OSI: Orc Masks and Savage Paint

The following was posted to the FYI page on the Ultima Online Web site:

Orc Masks and Savage Paint

Many players have been asking about the new masks of orcish kin and the savage tribal paint and how they work. While most players have figured out the mask will explode if you attack an orc and the paint will burn if you attack a savage, there are many other interactions that are designed into these masks. In order to clear up some confusion, the list below should clarify some of these interactions. Note the examples are all in reference to the mask of orcish kin and orcs, but they all hold true for tribal paint and savages as well.
  • If your pet, hireling, or summoned creature attacks or is attacked by an orc while you are wearing a mask of orcish kin, the orc mask will explode. Note this is the case even if your pet auto-defends.
  • If you provoke two creatures onto each other and an orc attacks one of those creatures while you are wearing a mask of orcish kin, the mask will explode. The system sees you as the controller of the creature you provoked and hence, the mask will explode if an orc attacks or is attacked by it, even if you are no longer in the area.
  • If you attack an orc and kill it and then put on the mask of orcish kin the mask will explode because you still have that orc in your aggressor list. After attacking an orc (even if you never hit it and it never hits you) wait a while before putting on an orc mask.
  • You cannot wear a mask of orcish kin and savage paint at the same time.
The orc masks and the savage paint are powerful items, but with that power comes danger. It is wise to use caution when donning either of these items.

Posted by Keith at 8:27 PM

July 11, 2001

A Look at the Ridgeback

Pat Factor, Shard-renowned Grandmaster Tamer and Shadowlord Faction supporter, recently gave me the oppotunity to take a gander at his new Ridgeback mount. Pat brought his newly-tamed beast to the BS&R Treasure Hunter�s Rune Library for viewing, while he briefed me on his capture and posed for a screenshot.

You can see Pat's Ridgeback in the screenshot on the right, standing just in front of myself (in the orange) and Maximus (in the red). It was found and tamed by Pat, himself, in the Cove area.

The screenshot shows how the Ridgeback looks while using the UO3D client. However, when using the standard UO 2D client, the Ridgeback looks like an unnaturally-colored yellow Ostard � the sort of yellow that might appear if you colored it with the straight-yellow from a simple players� dye tub.

�It feels like I�m riding on a tank,� Pat said about about his new mount.

Posted by Hazard [EiC] at 8:50 PM

OSI comments on future and present

Great News About Ridgebacks (Source: UO Stratics)

Great news from the uo.com-boards about the ridgebacks and for players who would like to ride one, but don't have a tamer:

Yes, they require high taming to tame, but no taming to own/ride.

-Jonathan "Calandryll" Hanna
Designer, Ongoing Content
In another posting Calandryll talks about some things that players may have misinterpreted about the scenarios:
Most GM's are tired of it because of the volume of calls it generates.

--Not sure where you got that information since it is not even remotely true. The scenario isn't generating a lot of calls at all and most bug reports are fixed within one week. I know this because I actually speak to the GM leads on a regular basis about the scenario and I have gotten nothing but positive feedback. These are the type of folks that would tell us immediatly if our work was impacting their jobs as I have worked with many of them for a very, very long time.

No one wants this except the guy who purpetrated it. So once again the vast majority are outvoted.

--That's odd as well since by all evidence of our tracking, a ton of players are participating in and using the items in the scenario. Also, while there are negative posts about the scenarios, there are also, many, many positive ones (as well as many e-mails to us directly).

THIS is supposed to be a substitute for the Seers that this same person got rid of.

--Actually no it's not. In fact, I've stated on numerous occasions that the scenarios were not meant as a replacement for the seers.

While I understand not everyone enjoys the scenario, it is a very poor idea to misrepresent information when trying to make a point simply to justify an arguement. We want the negative feedback from players on this as it will greatly help us when crafting future scenarios. But posts filled with innaccurate and inflamatory information don't help at all.

As for the town invasions themselves, the players will have the opportunity very soon to rid their towns of these foul creatures once and for all. That done, the next scenario does not have town invasions. :)

-Jonathan "Calandryll" Hanna

Posted by Hazard [EiC] at 2:43 PM

July 10, 2001

OSI: More News from the Community Front

The following was posted to the Team Comments page on the Ultima Online Web site:

More News from the Community Front

It's time for an update on the Community Relations Department hiring process!

To fill anyone in who hasn't been following the Community Department here at Origin, I'll recap a bit. Typically we have a three-person OCR team, consisting of a Community Manager, a Community Coordinator and the Website Content Editor/Writer. All three of these jobs are extremely time-consuming and vital to the service as a whole, since without the community, we have no service.

So on to the point at hand - a couple weeks ago two of our community team moved on to other opportunities, and I took on the role of Community Manager. I have been conducting a search for the right people to hold the positions of Community Coordinator and Website Content Writer, and it has been a really tough search! We have such a passionate community, many of whom would add greatly to the Origin team. How do we pick only two people out of nearly a hundred responses?

Well, after two weeks of reading resumes and conducting interviews, I have chosen my Website Content Editor, and I'm thrilled to say that she accepted the position just yesterday. She will be moving onto my team within the next two weeks, and I'm really looking forward to introducing her to the community! :)

And I am close -- so close -- to finding the right Community Coordinator. However, the choice has not been an easy one, and I can't make anything public just yet.

Until I have these two people on my team, I'm doing my best to maintain the essential duties of each position - i.e making sure the players on the boards are updated and notified of changes, making sure the important news announcements are made on the site, and seeing that the dev team has the information they need and the exposure they need to make the right decisions for the game. However, I have had to choose my priorities carefully, since my time is limited and there is so much to do.

I know many of you are anxiously awaiting the news of who will replace Melantus and who will take over the site, and I must say I'm anxiously awaiting the moment when I can give you that news! Building this team has been my number one priority since I took on the role of Community Manager, and it's a task that is too important to rush. I hope that my next Comments from the Team will be a more thorough introduction of the new community folks, and that in time, you'll get to know them as well as any of us!

Amy "Cynthe" Sage
Community Manager
Ultima Online
ORIGIN Systems

Posted by Keith at 4:47 PM

Storytelling with Meredith

Please join us this Wednesday, July 11th, 6:30pm PST at The Golden Globe Theater to share stories with old friends and new. Share your tales of bravery fighting savages, orcs or both! Or perhaps a touching story of true love. If you're feeling daring give a try at our game, Story Roulette. By taking three words from the audience you spin an original story right on the spot!

A map to the Golden Globe Theater, in Golden [on Trammel, north of the Justice Shrine. -Ed.], can be found here.

Posted by Keith at 3:46 PM

July 9, 2001

The Identity of the Ghost, Revealed

Posted by Mirabel to the Darkmor Forum of Heaven's Forge:

"A small but hardy band gathered at the Hospital today to track down the secrets of the restless spirit plaguing Heaven's Forge. I had hired the grandmaster Cartographer Pabo to lead our search, and the group was prepared for whatever might stand between us and learning the truth.

Pabo led us to the first map, it led to a small island off the coast, not even large enough for a house. After digging up the chest and dispatching many beasts, I uncovered a journal wrapped in a magical cloak. I handed it to Opalescense to peruse while I continued sorting the items, and she read portions of it aloud to the group.

The journal was written by a man named Garolyn Megiltura, and it detailed his life as Swordmaster to King Joran, elven ruler, long ago, of a city near what is now Yew... and also the elf we had discovered a while ago to be Sleath's father! If this Garolyn was the ghost, it certainly explained how he knew of Sleath, myself, and Darkmor... but it did not explain his hostility. As Opal continued to read, however... She discovered that Garolyn had not approved of the political marriage between Joran and his shadow elf Queen.. and that this had led him to plot against the lady. We dispatched the last of the monsters and, closing the journal, warily moved onward to the next map.

This second map led us deep into the jungle. The combat was just as fierce, and we found a second book.

We returned to the hospital to read its contents in a safer environment, as one should not dawdle in the jungles.

This journal was signed 'Garolyn Saurar' - which means, in elvish 'Foul One'. We all listened raptly as Opal read.. Sleath became more and more upset as he heard of Garolyn's traitorous acts toward his family, and as the journal detailed the kidnapping of the Queen, the treachery of the Drow who murdered King Joran, and the birth of Sleath's brother in captivity... He became very upset and rushed from the building. I followed but could not find him, he had disappeared into the valley. Opal was also becoming rather upset, but it was not clear exactly why. I assumed she merely was disturbed by the obviously demented nature of the journals. We moved on to the third and final map, without Sleath as he had not returned, all of us feeling a bit apprehensive.

The third map was also in the jungle, and as we were missing Sleath and a couple of others who had helped on the earlier maps, we were a little shorthanded, and had some people visit the spirit realm briefly. We quickly recovered and collected the items from the chest. This time, there was a box. It contained a journal and a pair of earrings with 15 rubies set in an intricate setting. We returned to the hospital, and divided up the money accumulated from the slaughter of the chest guardians, because several people needed to leave. It had been a long day. Opal, Pabo, Taliesin and I went off in search of Sleath, and we found him over the ghost's burial site in the cavern in the Valley. He was waving his kryss at the air and screaming 'Show yourself! Murderer!' -- and I worried for his sanity.. but then the ghost appeared. Opal read the journal aloud, and the ghost alternately cavorted around, unrepentant.. argued with Opal and Sleath, who could speak to him.. and seemed to genuinely mourn some of his actions. He seemed confused, and not entirely in control of his mind.

The third journal detailed the events Janilla had spoken of last week, the prisoner revolt and Garolyn's part in it... and ended with Garolyn's ultimate refusal to accept responsibility for any of his life's actions. He said he was "blessed" with the ability to choose the right side.. and wise enough to know when to leave. It would seem he was a bit too late in leaving the Bloodswords, as it resulted in his demise.

The final sentences of the journal explained the ruby earrings in the box. They had belonged to Isabella, the shadow elf Queen, mother to Sleath. They were a wedding gift from her husband. Opal grew very pale as she read it, and reached beneath her tunic to reveal the necklace she wore. It, also, was described in the journal.. the second part of the set Joran gave his bride. And the only part Isabella managed to hold onto in her flight from Garolyn. It had been given to Opal by her mother! This, along with other evidence, confirmed it.. she and Sleath were both the children of Isabella. Half-siblings. The lady did not die in the woods near Britain. She had managed to survive, make a life for herself, and bear a daughter. Opal and Sleath seemed unable to absorb this new information immediately. Time will tell what it means.

We were left with the decision of what to do with this ghost. Sleath, for his part, wanted to see Garolyn's soul suffer eternally. He refused to have anything to do with the thought of resurrecting him, and told Opal that it was her decision. Leaving Opal and I alone with the ghost, he returned to Darkmor. Opal's compassionate nature overtook her, and with a great effort, she restored him.

Garolyn, once called Swordmaster, Foul One, Betrayer of Lord and Land... returned to the land of the living at the hands of those who had every reason to hate him for what he had done. Perhaps he will find some redemption for the crimes he has committed. I think, however, he had best stay away from Darkmor and its Lord."

Posted by Hazard [EiC] at 7:42 AM

July 8, 2001

OSI: 89th Spotlight: �Orc Chess Game�

Recently, the 89th Spotlight was published to the Ultima Online Web site. Below are the first couple of paragraphs from this new tale:

Orc Chess Game

If anyone tells you chess is a game for intellectuals, they haven't seen it played the Ultima Online way. Join us for the story of a battle of brains and brawn as we watch the unlikely pairing of orcs and humans in an intellectual battle to the death.
"'Motherless swine!'

"'Dum dum pugdung femmy!'

Insults and empty bottles hurled back and forth. It was another typical night in the Hungry Halfling.

"Emma Frost and Tiger Dream had lived in relative peace and quiet on the border with the Stormreaver Clan. Occasionally they would watch the war bands as they passed their way, striking further and further in their quest for Empire. Until recently, the Orc Horde had ignored their small village, tucked between the borders of Yew and the Clan. By providing their services as metalsmiths and alchemists of no small skill, they had earned the good graces of the Clan. Lately, however, the restless Horde had begun to harass the two women and their retainers.

"Tonight was typical. Trying to find a drink, the two had settled into seats at the Hungry Halfling, only to be accosted by filthy marauders seeking to make 'lil Orcs' with them. Throwing a drink into the face of the rudest only resulted in another of the bar brawls that made the Hungry Halfling famous.

"Qog jumped up atop the table before the two women, brandishing his great axe. Quickly, Tiger yanked hard on the tablecloth, bringing Qog crashing to the ground. A flash of silver and Emma pressed the kryss, oozing green with venom, against Qog's throat.
The remainder of this story can be read here.

Posted by Keith at 2:51 AM

Archer Adventure

The following announcement was posted to the UO Stratics Baja Forum:

Though not an officially sponsored event, the Society of Archers (S|A) would like to inform you of a planned "Archer Adventure" this Monday (July 9). Beginning in the early evening (approx 5:00pm PST) a number of S|A Baja Chapter Archers are going to unite together and lead a pack hunt. All Archers are most welcome and urged to attend. The more we get together the more dangerous of place we will conquer. Supplies will be available for sale at the S|A Baja Chapter house prior to leaving. We will be using UOChat (chatroom "Archers Unite!") to join up with and stay in contact with reinforcements that arrive after we head out. Since we are in the process of moving houses we will meet up through the chat rather than at a set location. I, along with several other S|A Members, will be in attendance until the last Archer leaves. Hopefully we will stay in force throughout the night. If you can't come until late, please DO! Whenever you can make it. We hope to have a party together and "Archers Unite!" activated well into the late hours. Come join forces fellow Archers, let this be a night to remember!

Head of Baja Chapter
Society of Archers S|A

Posted by Thellaren at 12:34 AM

July 6, 2001

The Princess of Thieves (Trammel)

The following notice was posted to the door of the Darkmor Tavern (in Heaven's Forge) a few days back:

Many subsequently gathered at the Ring of Steel (Virtue) Tower on Sunday, July 1, to delve into Wrong and question this Princess. To read a full report of the events following, read the Darkmor Tavern Board, here.

Posted by Thellaren at 8:21 PM

July 5, 2001

OSI: OSI's �Orcs versus the Savages� Quest Continues with �Fighting Back�

The Ultima Online Web site's BNN section has published the latest chapter in OSI's "Orcs versus the Savages" Quest scenario, here. The entire story is reproduced below.

Fighting Back

Jogug kicked a stone and watched as it skittered across the floor and hit the cave wall. He hated this place. No humies to bash, never enough food, and the cave reeked, even by orc standards. He mumbled some irate complaints to the other orcs in the room, although most of them were too busy with complaints of their own to listen.

The cave had been carved out (actually, blown out) by the orc bombers and reinforced by the orc choppers. In truth, it was well built (again, by orc standards), but many of the orcs had grown weary of it. Orcs cared little for the beauty of the outdoors, but Jogug missed the warmth of the sun and the openness of his home near Cove. Jogug wasn't exactly the bravest of orcs, but he had had enough of this hiding. And so had his lord, Sorgulg.

Jogug quieted his mumbling as Sorgulg raised his voice.

"NO!" the orc lord shouted. "No more hiding!"

This was followed by more shouting from the orc mage Opathu. Jogug could not hear the words exactly, but he could tell the mage disagreed with Sorgulg, preferring the safety of the cave. Jogug thought the sentiment typical of the mages. He didn't trust any orc that didn't bash things with an ax, although he did want to get his hands on some of those bottles the orc bombers kept. He liked the noises they made.

"NO! We go without you den. Take back home. You hide like mongbat if yub want to," Sorgulg retorted, his temper quickly rising.

Jogug knew his lord and the mage well enough to know what would happen next, and was not surprised in the least when he heard Opathu yelp, no doubt dodging an attack from Sorgulg. Jogug would have smiled at the thought, and in fact was about to, when he heard the orc mage yell for help.

The ground shook a bit. Jogug suddenly realized what was coming, and his smile quickly faded into a frown. Gathering what courage he had (which wasn't much), Jogug prepared for a fight. The ground shook again, this time much more forcefully, as a hulking brute of an orc entered the room. Easily twice Jogug's mass, with muscles bulging, the large orc immediately went to enter the room where Sorgulg and the mage were arguing. Jogug, trembling despite his attempts to hide his fear, stood to intercept the brute.

The huge orc smiled a wicked grin as it picked Jogug completely off the ground and threw him headlong into another group of orcs. The brutes had a habit of throwing any orcs who got in their way, since it not only made them feel powerful, but watching the smaller orcs grapple with whatever creature they had been thrown onto was really great fun. The brute was just getting ready to hurl another hapless orc when Sorgulg stormed out, boldly striding right past the imposing orc.

Jogug quickly followed Sorgulg as they left the cave, wanting nothing more to do with the hulking orc or those that wished to stay in the cave. He liked the idea of clomping more painted humies and more importantly, he wanted his home back.

"No more hiding," he thought, echoing his Lord's words and looking nervously back at the cave as another orc yelped and was thrown from the dark cavern.

It was time to clomp!

* * * *

Duncan gathered the men and women of Cove into the Inn and waited for them all to settle down. The people were tired and weary from the fighting and it took him a while to secure their attention. Duncan was happy for the time to compose himself and gather his thoughts, since he knew the proposal he was about to give them would not be a popular one. Finally the room quieted and all eyes and ears went to Duncan.

The young Paladin, who had only months ago just begun his questing, was suddenly acutely aware of all the faces watching him. How had he become the leader of this desperate group? He cleared his throat and began speaking, cautiously at first.

"My friends, for weeks we have defended our town against these orc raids, hoping we could weather this terrible storm. Now these savages threaten our homes as well. It is time we took the fight to them and ended this nonsense before all of Cove is destroyed. Neither the orcs nor the savages seem willing or able to end this themselves... so it is now up to us."

The Paladin paused for a moment, watching the faces of the townsfolk for any sign of reaction. He saw their eyes still focused on him, and continued his speech. Conviction began to creep into his voice as he realized that they were actually listening.

"The time has come for us to leave the relative safety of our homes and take this fight to the orc fort! With these," the paladin held up a mask of orcish kin, "we can rid our land of the savages and put things back the way they were."

At this point, one of the elders of the town jumped from his seat, glaring at the paladin. "Help the orcs? Are you mad!? We've endured their attacks for generations; we'd be better off helping these savages! They're at least human... maybe we can reason with them!"

Duncan had expected this. He knew the deep-rooted hatred the residents of Cove held towards the orcs. But he also knew there would be no negotiations with the savages. The savages were intelligent, cunning, crafty, and were better equipped than the orcs. He had also heard rumors of savages mounted on huge, unfamiliar beasts and powerful savage spellcasters capable of raining lighting down on their enemies from the skies. That, coupled with their terrifying prowess against the most powerful of beasts made the orcs seem to be the lesser of two evils. Before Duncan could respond, the elder spoke again.

"We have already made up our minds, Paladin. We will use their own war paint to blend in with these savages. They'll never know who we are, and we can destroy the orcs once and for all." With that, the elder left the room, and at least half the gathered people followed behind him.

Duncan watched them leave and wondered if this moment would mean the difference between living with the savages or the orcs. Not a happy prospect either way, but he knew he had to do what he could to see that they were not left to the hands of the savages. Turning back to the remaining townsfolk, Duncan began to lay out his plans, and handed out orc masks to those who would fight with the orcs. Those without masks would remain to defend the town.

The time had come to drive the intruders out for good.

Posted by Keith at 3:56 PM

OSI: Savage Paint and Orc Mask Info/Bugs

Calandryll, Designer of Ongoing Content for Ultima Online, recently posted the following to the YahooGroups Ultima Online e-mail list:

Savage Paint and Orc Mask Info/Bugs

I posted this on uo.com and wanted to make sure you all saw it as well.

Since there have been quite a few posts about the savage paint and the orc masks, I figured it would be a good idea to post some more information about them to explain why they are doing some of the things they do.

Healing problems with paint and masks. This is a bug, something I thought I had fixed last week, but I missed another way it can happen. I tracked that one down too (and found a really, really, stupid coding mistake on my part) and it's fixed. QA is looking at it and if all goes well it will go in next week.

Paint disappearing when you die. This is not a bug. There are two reasons for this. One is that the system automatically reverts you back to your original body type when you die as part of the polymorph code. This is deep in the C code of the servers and to be perfectly honest, wasn't something I felt comfortable having changed given the problems it could cause. One of the goals of the content team is to touch existing systems as little as possible. The other reason is because we want the paint to be an item that cooks can sell over and over again. Which is also why it wears off after about a week.

Kirins and Unicorns. If you put on savage paint you can't ride a kirin or unicorn. This is a bug and it'll be one of the first things I look at when I get into the office on Thursday. I am pretty sure I know what is going on with this and if I am right it should not prove difficult to fix. I'll update this tomorrow in case it's more than I thought.

Masks/Paint exploding after attacking an orc or savage. The mask and paint will explode if you put it on after attacking (or being attacked by) an orc or savage respectively if they are still in your aggressor list. This is as designed and done to avoid certain exploits. Think of this as the magic properties of the mask/paint knowing that you have recently assaulted one of it's kin. If you have a mask/paint and attack an orc/savage, wait a few minutes before putting the mask/paint on. This is especially true if you kill an orc and get a mask as loot. Do not put it on right away!

Can't track players who are wearing savage paint. This is a bug. We're looking into fixing this as well as the other new scenario monsters that cannot be tracked.

The original post also had two unconfirmed bugs that I did not copy here because I've confirmed that they are not the result of savage paint or orc masks. We are looking into them still though.

-Jonathan "Calandryll" Hanna
Designer, Ongoing Content

Posted by Keith at 11:57 AM

July 2, 2001

Next Scenario Publish

Posted to several UO Community sites:

Because of the recent publish and the holiday (July 4, Wednesday) we will be publishing the next scenario publish today, active tomorrow morning on all shards except for Chessie. Chessie will get the publish sometime later this week. My apologies to those on Chessie for the delay, but given publish 12 and the holiday, we feel this is the best course. I'll keep you posted should anything change.

-Jonathan "Calandryll" Hanna
Designer, Ongoing Content
In other related news, the following picture was posted on the UO Stratics Baja Board, reported being found on female savages.

Posted by Thellaren at 9:40 PM

Lum the Mad Leaves His Own Site

Lum the Mad, at his site of the same name, posted a farewell of sorts today. He's moving on to a job with an online gaming company, and felt it would be a conflict of interests to both work for a company and be a direct part of a rant site.

The introduction to his article is below, and the entire article can be found here.


Short version: I've taken a job as a tools programmer with Mythic Entertainment, and will be working on behind-the-scenes stuff related to making Dark Age of Camelot's customer service better. To quote my new co-worker Sanya "Tweety" Thomas, "please direct all complaints about me being a sell out corporate whore to www.I Don't See You Paying For My Health Insurance.com."

As part of my new position, since ranting about our competitors would be wildly inappropriate, I'm turning this website over to its other writers.

Posted by Keith at 10:18 AM

July 1, 2001

Lions and tigers and CENTAURS!! Oh my!

Again via Stratics: Centaurs on Test Center 6

Centaurs have appeared on Test Center 6. You can find them in the Serpentine Passage there. As far as I found out they are wearing bows and know how to handle them, and they also seem to be using magic.

As soon as more information is available about them, we will let you know on our Centaur Page. Thanks to Patricia for that heads up.

Posted by Hazard [EiC] at 10:09 AM

Bartenders coming? From Stratics:

From Stratics: When Bartenders will show up:

In reply to a query as to when bartenders will show up in UO, Calandryll (UO Designer, Ongoing Content) replied :

They'll be in the first week of the next scenario. No specifc date for that yet though. More than likely, there will be a 4 week time off between the end of this scenario and the next one.

Posted by Hazard [EiC] at 9:57 AM

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