December 1999


This made me die. My coworkers are now looking at my cubicle, wondering (a) if I can be resurrected and (b) what of my stuff can be taken. It was originally posted on our message board by Counselor X.)


(NOTE: While a parody, all 3 calls below are *TRUE* – and the comments attributed to the callers are as close to verbatim matches as I can remember. These 3 calls came back to back only 3 weeks ago. Enjoy this snippet in the life of someone who volunteers his time for *YOU*, and asks nothing back in return)

Couns is filmed live with the men and women of the UO volunteer program. All callers are considered intelligent until proven stupid.

Couns A – “Okay, we’ve got this call just come in, something about someone needing help with their house”
Couns B – “Punch it.” *sirens wail*

On the Scene: Just outside Trinsic
Caller is in the middle of an empty patch of grass about 5 tiles wide by 3 tiles long – there is a mushroom, a log, a tree, a mountain, and a pond in it.

Couns A – “Hi. We are here to help you with your house.”
Couns B – “Hmm. Did It decay? If so, this spot won’t be valid again.”
Caller – “Like I want to know if this spot is legal.”
*Couns A paces around counting steps*
Couns B – “Wow this is really too small – I mean even if the mushroom, the log, the tree, and the ocean weren’t in the middle, it’s just not big enough for a house.”
Caller – “WTF?! That’s so stupid. I mean OSI just wants to hurt the new players. I mean I don’t have any house and I’ve been looking. Do you know of any spots?”
Couns A – “Sorry, this spot is exactly 12 spaces too short and 11 spaces too narrow. I’ve counted the steps several times but try as I could, I can’t find any way to help you put a house here.”
Couns B – “Housing was restricted because the wilderness was turning into a giant maze of houses and tents, and nobody could move around without getting boxed in a corner by homes. I understand your frustration, but with housing out of control. something had to be…
Caller – “Well it sucks. Thanks for nothing. Bye” *recalls away*


Couns A – “Okay, we have a 5-11 emergency call, wedding in trouble, counselors down!”
*Sirens wail – teleport at breakneck speed*

On Scene: The wedding of Petunia and NutCheez, outside Moonglow
Couns A – “Hello, what seems to be the problem?”
Caller – “I’m supposed to marry that chick Petnueea but I just got me a hurting ICQ from like my friend at college. He’s a programmer too, so cool huh? well he says that Petneiala is really a big fat bearded guy who shovels snow in Michigan and was arrested. That some shat or what? Plus he’s a roleplayer – that’s some shat.”
Petunia – *SMILES*
Couns A – “What can we do for you, Mr. NutCheez?”
Caller – “Well I wanted to let you know about this shat beeatch saying he’s a chick. So thanks.”

Couns B – “Anything else we can help you with?”
Caller – “Yeah. They like lied about Necro cuz I seen it on whatthefuckmandotcom so like where is it? You guys lied to us again?”
Couns A – “.clear .next”

Call #3: To Sea or not to Sea
Couns A – “Hi what’s up?”
Caller – “I have a friend who is a counselor and he says this is fucked up. OSI owes me big.”
Couns B – “tell us so we can help”
Caller – “I was on my boat and this has NEVER happened, not ever but OSI gets me something, some kind of Illegal Operation and Suddenly I’m here in the middle of nowhere. My friend says you can move people and there’s no way that can happen. My boat is stolen and I wanna know what you plan to do about it.”
Couns A – “okay, just relax. Let’s try to work this out one step at a time”
Couns B – “.clear .next”
Caller – “Okay, I know for a fact that counselors got fired for this shit, so …”
Couns A – “Well, that’s not correct, but go on.”
Caller – “So explain how that can happen?”
Couns A – “Sounds like you had a computer memory error that causes an illegal operation. If you lose connection to UO, and you are on an unanchored boat, you can sometimes get ‘ejected’ to a nearby shore”
Caller – “But tell me this then, can’t you move players around?”
Couns A – “Yes, but I sure can’t cause your computer to generate an illegal operation.”
Caller – “Well now I’m out 5000 in gold and a GM/SRC did it.”
Couns A – “You lost connection to UO, and…”
Caller – “Did not! Plus, it was only a second cuz I got right back on.”
Couns A – “You were not moved by a counselor, nobody forced a memory crash on your PC, and a GM did not steal your boat. Did you have any more questions?”
Caller – “Yeah. Is this a good spot for a house?”

“180 and Bush, I have them at gunpoint”


Well, Abyss didn’t make an appearance in UO this Halloween, to the disappointment of about 3 people, but Verant tried to make up for it by luring as many characters as they could to one zone and then killing them.

Here’s the story.

Verant has a bit to learn about running quests. Then again, there’s so many seers quitting UO lately, the knowledge base is out there.


My xrgaming email works again. Here’s a snippet of some of the better notes I’ve gotten in between “FREE SEX ON THE INTERNET! IF YOU DARE!” spam.


Basically, the volunteer program will never work, call me cynical, but I know human nature. I worked in a prison for god’s sake, I’ve seen EVERYTHING. heh. There are very few true saint’s in the world and the ones who exist aren’t playing UO or in the counselor system. An army of saints is what you would need to straighten out the program and that isn’t going to happen. I base my opinion on a simple percentage system I learned while in college covering security and thieves. It goes like this. Ten percent of the people who are in the world will not steal if a golden opportunity falls in their laps, just never crosses their minds. Another thirty percent will steal only if the opportunity exists and it will not come back on them. Basically just opportunist’s. These are the ones who are hard to catch. The other sixty percent will steal all the time and make opportunities to do so and are the ones to get caught. So, if you look at that as far as your make up for the counselor program as to taking advantage of opportunities to do wrong, it’s pretty much doomed. The small percentage of people who could do well, will drop out of the program at the first sign of compromised moral’s and the others are there only for the opportunity or to make an opportunity. Even if OSI hires all its support people, they’ll have problems.


I think I should introduce myself, before asking you for a little favor. I am a big fan of Ultima Online and, in this case maybe of more importance, a former Senior Counselor for the european shards.

Now my request. Please read through all the postings you published on your website in the past days regarding the volunteer program of the above mentioned game. Read them carefully. Then remind yourself of something that I fear you and many other people forgot, when you started this campaign against the volunteer program. Ultima Online is a product of the entertainment industry. It is a game. People pay 9.95$ for a service, which is meant to entertain them.

And Lum, fun is the deciding factor here. Counselors do not work for Origin, they enjoy having a special role in the player community. You judge a bunch of people, without having a sense what being a Counselor really means to those people. You never felt, what it means to be part of a team, which calls itself a “virtual family”. You judge them by what you hear from a small amount of people in- and mainly outside of this team. These people spend much time helping other players, not because they are on a power trip, but because they have something in common – They are passionate gamers. Anyone in this program who takes his role in a different way won’t have much fun being a Counselor and for sure they won’t stay in the team for long.

I admit, I can only speak for the european Counselors, but it gives me enough confidence to defend 500+ avid gamers, who play Ultima Online just in a different way then you do. Please Lum, don’t mix up reality with a virtual community. There is just a company providing a service and users of this service helping them out because they like their product. Take a look at the big image and hopefully you’ll understand what I am writing about.


I agree with the majority of what you said apart from the SRC\\SLC part. If they couldn’t play the game I don’t think they would want to support it.

I think that you should replace the SLC\\SRC’s with an OSI who is responsible for everything that happens on a particular shard, not the GM’s/IGM’s rostered to it. Lock the abilities out of the GM client and anything requiring those abilities wether support or quests needs the controller for that shard authority, although controllers should not have any in game abilities themselves. He/she can also liase with the councilers on the shard. This role should be totaly non-interactive except when dealing with customer complaints.

There would be several benefits to this:

The left hand would then know what the right is doing in regards to GM’s/IGM’s/councilers. No more confusing messages… “I can’t help you with that” although the last time it happened a GM did.

Greater recourse for players who feel that they have been unfairly treated. Someone independent to look through the logs of both GM and Player and make an independant decision, as the GM’s don’t work for them.

Greater attention payed to particular shard issues and better briefing to the support people for that shard.

Accountability, Only one person responsible=greater incentive for that person to play it straight.

Even spread of quests, The controller would have visibilty of what quests are run where for who and can ensure that it is not a few of any one population faction recieving quests more than others.

I personally feel this would go a long way to cleaning things up because a GM could not “do favours” without the controllers permition, and a controller has no reason to give that permission because there is nothing in it for him apart from losing his job.

But then what do I know I’m only a Brit.