Strangers to this domain may not know who Mindtrip is, or was as the case now stands. Years ago, he was a counselor who quickly earned nothing but the highest levels of respect from the players and was instrumental in introducing some of the best members of the volunteer program to the population of Ultima Online. I had the honor of meeting him at the UO Faire last Autumn and found him to be an intelligent and warm-hearted man who absolutely loved Ultima Online like it was his child. He eventually graduated out of the volunteer squad to become a member of the Quality Assurance team. I know what you are thinking, but take my word for it – Mindtrip did one hell of a job. It took no time at all to earn the respect of the dev team at Origin. I am honored to consider him a friend.

Fast forward to the middle of last week, when I get an email entitled, “Mindtrip let go” in my mailbox. The email was a gracious and noble farewell that read like something you’d hear from a defeated political candidate, bitter and frustrated at the loss but bowing out with grace and dignity. I was sad to hear that it was the opinion of Origin Systems that Mindtrip was something that Ultima Online did not need and his services were inadequate as a member of the QA staff.

Sad, until I read the following:

When I asked what the reason was for dismissing me to my supervisor, I was told it was because I was in the military.

Right now, every single person employed at Origin Systems should hang their heads in shame. Not out of guilt or contribution to this, but out of mere association with any business that would be so arrogantly dick-faced.

Let me back-track just a bit and give you the entire story in Mindtrip’s own words:

My day on Tuesday the 22nd was just like any other one for me, until catastrophe broke. I showed up early in IRC because I wanted to take on more testing work. They were not handing out a lot of tasks lately to me so I had taken the week off from work to make a double vacation/uo test-time effort. I was also going to update my supervisor on the latest changes to my military schedule since it had cleaned up very nice for the next year.

So, I logged in and asked for tests to do and said hello to my friends. I then private messaged my supervisor hello. At that moment, my inbox received the letter from OSI to dismiss me.

Let me interrupt the retelling here just to point out something: In all the years, after all the embarrasments of mis-management, Origin Systems still employs and promotes people with absolutely NO FUCKING MANAGEMENT TALENTS WHATSOEVER. All you have to do is have thick BJ lips and record a few quasi-erotic squeals into a microphone and you can FUCKING BE IN CHARGE OF THE ENTIRE PROJECT. I’m still waiting for the day when Origin learns how to fire someone WITHOUT BEING ASSHOLES. Hint: If you hire people with business degrees, they tend to act like professionals. STOP HIRING PEOPLE FROM AUSTIN SENIOR HIGH.

Jesus H Christ. Anyway, back to the story…

I confronted this and, of course, it was clarified that I was let go due to military deployments scheduled in September and in December (I had said either/or not both). However, some very key information was missed where I had mentioned my intentions to move into a stable job and that all military deployments are only tentative and that I have full internet access at one of the locations. It was very clear they knew nothing about the military community I serve in. I pushed the fact that I had just been moved to a stable job and no trips were scheduled for the next year at all. At this point things just got out of hand and confrontational. I know I was seeing red in the face. At this point, I knew my supervisor’s hands were tied. I have respect for this person and just debating was hurtful. This was something neither of us wanted to face I am sure. So, I took it on up the chain directly to OSI. In the end, when I pushed my military hours as not being a factor, other reasons were brought up that were never conveyed to me nor were the reasons more beyond the last 3 weeks. The short of it all was that recently I was not putting in the time needed and because of that I was not fulfilling my end of the deal.

Well, I have been testing as a volunteer and then as a consultant for over 18 months. I am sorry, but we all need breaks from time to time and good leaders know when to cut someone loose to take it easy. Even when I asked for a week off a month ago, it was like pulling teeth. In the end, I never took a week off and worked roughly 20 hours. After that, it was just hard to get anything meaningful to do. I could just hear the nails being driven into my coffin at that point on. I would ask for work to do and there was hardly any to give.

In the end, I find it horribly ironic that I am now in a desk job working 7 to 4 and coming home with nothing to do. I would love to be testing but what can I do? Nothing. I was told I was eligible to return but when I asked what I needed to do to be eligible to return I was told I had to fulfill my contract 100% and then I was asked if I was still thinking of getting out of the military in a year. Pardon me, but isn’t this a two way street? Shouldn’t leaders take care of their followers? Shouldn’t followers be helpful subordinates by keeping their supervisors informed? In the end, my integrity was used to dismiss me. My revelations of possible military duties were used in a negative fashion without informing me. If I knew that being a helpful follower was going to hurt me, I would have not been kind and shared those things. If I had just kept my military life to myself, I would be a tester today.

Okay so here’s what we know now: After pushing hard against the issue of being in the military, Mindtrip is cited “additional factors” that in my opinion, add up to a little pile of BULLSHIT and BACKPEDDALING. Usul, if you’re going to be a GIANT DICKFACE, for CHRISTS SAKE DONT PUSSY OUT WHEN CONFRONTED WITH IT. BE A FUCKING MAN AND STICK TO YOUR GUNS (If you need suggestions where you can stick said guns, I’ll be happy to suggest a few places. UP YOUR ASS immediately comes to mind).

And if you are not completely and totally FLOORED by this story, what do you think of this: When Mindtrip asks what his chances are for returning to work with THE COMPANY THAT JUST SHOVED A BOWLING PIN UP HIS ASSHOLE, he is told, “all you have to do is quit the Air Force.”


In the end, I am moving on and seeking new things to do at home. But, I know one thing: As a leader myself, my primary goal is always to look out for my followers, to do anything I possibly can to ensure their best interests are met, and be the buffer between them and the big brass high up. If I had to, I would lay my career down to protect them and I have already done this once. I just wish someone had jumped in the crossfire for me this time. I needed help and never got it.

I’ll tell you what you didn’t get – respect. Oh, and you also didn’t get to work for a professional. You got to work for someone who got his first taste of authority and turned into a little dictator. Quit the military? As much as UO is a cluster-fuck without you, don’t you even consider it unless it is your own decision. Unlike Usul and Mesanna, there are people who respect and appreciate your service to our country.

I have no fight left in me. But, when there were times when I was picking up the people around me, now they are doing this for me. This is all that really matters to me now.

In the end, I should have never been so open about my life. There is a lesson to be had here: Never, ever, share your personal life to your civilian employers. You never know when that information can be used against you.

Mindtrip is completely justified for being angry and for lashing out and for calling names (I on the other hand, may not be. Usul you mother-fucker, you can hate me all you want, girlfriend). Mindtrip has every right to be bitter and to call down the fires of Gohmorrah onto Origin Systems. Keep that in mind when you read his “parting words” to those who are still playing Ultima Online:

If some of you people think that what you say at the message boards is a waste of time, it is not. I personally tested hundreds of reports that players have made and documented them for submittal. I never posted a reply, never said a word, I just took down the info and tested. I would bounce message board to message board looking for information and run conclusive tests upon them. Several have resulted in patches. The rest? Like I said, I can only hope the Development Team can work fast enough. But, never doubt that the information is documented. I have great faith in my peers that remain. I know they are doing the same things I was–being flies on the wall, listening, watching, documenting. So please, if you have issues, please be outspoken about it.

The guy was just fired, and what does he do? He lobbies for his former co-workers while offering one last pat on the back to the players he was eager and happy to serve for over a year and a half. This is the measure of the man that is Mindtrip. This is why the players who met him, liked him. This is why so many people at Origin respected him. Even in the face of injust mistreatment, he was gracious and kind-hearted.

I allow you to draw your own conclusions, but here are a few facts to help you do that:

1. Usul is a motherfucker

2. Usul has absolutely no respect for people

3. Usul is the embodiment of every Dilbert cartoon ever penned

Usul and Messana both deserve to be fired. Not for offending me. At Origin, that earns you a Bronze Star. Not for firing someone they felt did not meet their secret back-office standards for QA. We already know the standards are pathetically low. They should be fired for displaying what stands today as the worst story of poor management that most of you have ever heard.

If anybody at Origin has any sense at all, Usul will be fired before the day is out. He is a giant dick and while that might make him a perfect fit for the giant vagina called OSI, he shouldn’t be a manager until he FUCKING LEARNS HOW. Messana gets ONLY A SLIM BREAK as she may or may not have been uncomfortably stuck with the “Bearer of bad news” in this case. But you know what? She had her moment of transcendance when Usul proposed this dismissal, and she bent like a thistle in a windstorm. For that, she can eat a bag of hell.

The both of you obviously have no clue. Maybe if your fathers had been able-bodied enough to serve our country, you’d have a little more understanding for the overwhelming demands that such duty can place upon someone. This is why we have a MEMORIAL DAY. But I’m guessin the two of you were sitting in lawn chairs sucking down beers and hot dogs. Mean while two thirds of this entire planet are littered with the scattered bones of our American Military. Our countrysides are pockmarked with boxes in holes and white stone tiles that stretch as far as the eye can see – like a somber mosaic of death and sacrifice. Am I being holier-than-thou? You bet your FUCKING ASS I AM. On Monday, I was standing in the grass at Arlington, in front of one of those little marble tiles, sticking tiny flags into the wet grass. A father? A brother? A friend? no. I have no idea who any of those bones belonged to. AND THAT IS THE ENTIRE GODDAM POINT OF MEMORIAL DAY. Acres upon acres of rotting caskets, filled with the dead; people who didn’t know who the hell I was either.

Maybe both of you should think about that. I don’t know if your fathers are still alive to see what kind of people you have become, but I’ll tell you what – if they aren’t here to see this, I’ll be ashamed of you for them.