FOUR PERSPECTIVES [Author: wirehead]

The fallout from Hammerfall continues. Early this morning KoC’s castle was deleted by the GMs. Our first perspective comes from a post by Calista on our message board and addresses this, from an outsider’s viewpoint.

Another one of my best friends, the guildmaster of Chessie UTB. He had all his characters friended to the castle. He co-owned the castle, and was the ONLY one co-ownered to the castle. Everything he ever earned including his phoenix armour and statues from the ticket system as well as the rares he got from 2 years of playing UO were in that castle. But because the owner of the castle was banned, the GMs decided to clear the entire friends list and co-owners list. He e-mailed support, he e-mailed concerns, he e-mailed the dev members, pleading for the chance to get everything he ever owned (besides the gold in the bank) from the castle. At 3AM today, the GMs deleted it.

They deleted it, but left everything outside to all the looters. Xavier was able to get there in time but was killed and as a ghost, got to watch a bunch of $#&)(@$#ING looters who weren’t banned loot EVERYTHING he ever owned, every rare he ever collected, every single statue and piece of phoenix armour which he spent so much time and items and gold to get from the ticket system and would probably never be able to get, again.

Farewell, Xavier. Farewell to one of the best truest friends I’ve ever had in UO. He and I trusted each other so much that he gave me a character slot on his account and I friended that character to my house and gave that character a set of the house keys fully knowing that Xavier would never loot me and I would never steal from the other characters.

For the first time in my 2 years of being addicted to this crack, I’m thinking about quitting.

The second perspective, from a player on Chesapeake not involved in the bannings.

I’ve heard reverences to this as “an outrage”, as “Gestapo tactics” and worse. In truth, this is almost a non-event. Realize that 200 accounts out of 135,000 is roughly .15%. This impacts suprisingly few accounts. I was expecting much worse after reading the first reports. If OSI were to ever truly become aggressive with exploiters, macroers, etc this number would be in the thousands. Maybe 10’s of thousands. For heaven’s sake, I can walk around a busy shard and see 200 people macroing in the course of 6 hours.

Basically, these were the “worst of the worst”, the most notorious and nefarious of the exploiters, etc and their close associates. Some of those banned may not have participated directly in the illegal activities, but are certainly guilty by association. Just because I didn’t help my friend rob the liquor store doesn’t mean I can hold the money for him with no ramifications.

Also, I am a bit surprised by how most posters on message boards and forums belittle and mock OSI’s technical expertise. The posters apparently think that OSI’s technical people must have just a vague understanding of what the internet is, how it works, and what IPs, logs, and audit trails are all about. These “stupid” technical people maintain a system of almost 20 servers and handle accounting, connectivity, and data integrity for 135,000 people (minus 200 now, of course). Yes, I am sure these people are much too ignorant to understand IP cycling, leases, and masking.

This really annoys me. People are welcome to their opinion on the UO staff’s motivations, but it seems foolish to me to call their technical ability into question. Most of those spouting about how “stupid” the OSI technicians are claim to be “experts” themselves, alluding to their own vast knowledge of networking. All of you system engineers go back to maintaining that 20 person network at your office. Good job. We’re very impressed. If OSI would just listen to you….

Even if you assume for a moment that OSI’s people were NOT capable of tracking down these people, how difficult would it be for one of the largest game manufacturers in the country to go out and hire a capable consulting firm to do it for them?

In my opinion, what you have here is an extremely vocal, yet tiny sliver of the UO population that has with 99.9% certainty been engaging in all manner of illegal (as per the TOS) activity.

And don’t get me started on the lawsuit. I’m sure that the corporate lawyers working for EA/OSI et al are just as ignorant as their technicians. Of course the TOS doesn’t apply to 14 year old “elite” players. *rolls eyes again*

Speaking of the lawsuit, the third perspective is a lawyer’s view of their case.

Pathetic. I think that they misfiled the “Idiot’s Guide to the Law” in the comic book section again. I’ll have to give the ol’ librarian another shock across the chest with a car battery and wake her up.

That is frightening. The short version, as I’m sure you know, is that notwithstanding Origin’s reservation of the right to ban anyone any time for any reason…, this loser ADMITS violating the ToS. So, in the unlikely event Origin is not actually allowed to ban anyone at any time for any reason, certainly they can ban for violations of the ToS. (As an attorney that graduated from a top 10 law school, I still for the life of me don’t know what a “breech of contract” is. Is it a contract written backwards, or maybe some sort of pants or leggings for hire?)

Geez, Gomer, I don’t guess I woulda admitted anything in my letter to them ther OSI people.

“Let us be clear of this. I’ve violated no terms to the point of being banned. ” (emphasis added).

Whaddya say, OSI, should we let this guy back in because he only duped a small stone keep deed and not a castle deed?

*shakes head*

For sake of argument, do you realize what he’s asking for for damages? Virtually NUTHIN! He said he played for 3 years, that’s 360 bucks, round to 400 if you consider the cost of the game. Times 300, being generous? That’s $120K. No offense, and this may sound crass, but you can’t even hire a top lawyer to handle even a moderate case for $120K if it goes to trial. I don’t think OSI is shaking in their boots.

The fourth perspective is my own.

I’m thinking specifically of those KoC members (Hammerfall isn’t a KoC-only incident, but the vast majority of those banned had ties to KoC in some way) who claim innocence. That they have never violated ToS in any way, that they’ve never actually broken any rules, and they were banned for no reason.

KoC’s guild charter, in total, is “there are no rules.” KoC’s reputation to outsiders was “by any means necessary.” They protected themselves in PvP – but everything else just didn’t count. As one put it, you were either KoC or you weren’t shit.

It is hard to see how one could join such a guild and feign innocence, although many now have. It is hard to see how someone could actually help the game in any way while being a member of such a guild, although many now are saying their friends did exactly this.

KoC were not nice folks. They were right there at the forefront of the Roleplayer-PK war, and they made a point of making Paxlair’s life miserable, on an almost daily basis, simply because they could, and, however expressed in PK argot, Paxlair’s players were not only the enemy, but were lame, unworthy of being contestants, but only as cattle.

Now, this is not against the UO Terms of Service. It is not against the law to be an ass.

The Chesapeake Roleplayer-PK war has gotten especially ugly. When MDK attacked Corwyn in much the same way as KoC attacked Paxlair, it ended with MDK being banned in toto, not for being exploiters, but for basically being members of a terrorist organization; one which took the animosity in g
e so far out of game that the head of Corwyn basically felt herself targeted in real life. You may disagree on whether or not this was actually something valid to fear; what is not up for debate is that MDK took what began as conflict within an online game far over the line, into reality.

And now we have KoC. KoC is much larger than MDK (about 50 members total, which make up probably half of the banned accounts considering many of the accounts were multiples owned by one person) and many KoC were actually working with Paxlair. In fact, Paxlair as a group has come out against this mass banning – despite being their target over a year – because some of those who were banned were actually decent people.

Nevertheless, I have to wonder, in such an environment, how anyone truly “innocent” would join KoC. It is sort of like someone in Germany, in 1944, joining the Nazi party. I’m sure not everyone who was in the Nazi party was mass murderering fiends, either, but by that point you pretty much had a clear picture that the Nazis were not choirboys. And from all the things I’m hearing about KoC, neither were they.

The lesson learned from all this, if nothing else, is to take care with whom you associate with in game. It can, and will, come back to haunt you.