THINGS THAT GO *BAN* IN THE NIGHT [Author: arcadian del sol]

Last night, the stories started coming in, little by little. Right now, I am afraid there isn’t a great deal of information available, but just so you know: PATCH SERVER WASNT KIDDING AROUND.

This thread on the official UO.Com message boards happened to be among the earliest indications that something was up. The reports posted there were all from players who made the defense that the only 3rd party applications they had running were UO:Assist and UO:AutoMap; both members of the defunct “UOPro” program. A few indicated that they also had various firewall protection utilities running. As I cannot verify these testimonials, I’ll have to leave them at face value, and refrain from any judgements.

For those of you who are new members to the Ultima Online community, any program you use to enhance the UO experience, is labelled a “third party application”. This basically means it is an unofficial modification to the Ultima Online client. There are a few of these utilities that are approved by OSI, and they bear the “UOPro” tag to indicate this. The membership in this program is very tiny, as it was shut down weeks after the first entries were added, and almost immediately after the controversial UO:Assist was finally approved; a process that made the repealing of the Volstead Act look like a game of rock-scissors-paper. The use of any unapproved 3rd party applications while accessing Ultima Onlines servers is expressly prohibited, and will ultimately result in the forclosure of your game accounts.

NEWS IN RELATION: The following update appeared two days ago on the “Ultimate Freedom” website (not linked here for clearly obvious reasons):
“Due to certain difficulties, most of the site’s normal content will be unavailable.”
“Most of the site’s normal content” consists of the marketing of a bannable 3rd party application formerly known as UOE (UO:Extreme), and a discussion board revolving around that commercially illegal product. I was forwarded an email from the owner of the site, that said simply: “Two words: EA Legal”

Whether that is true or not remains to be confirmed, however it is certain that somebody contacted the host of the domain, and the content was removed at their request. Various well known “cheater boards” (again, no links. bite me if you want them) feature discussion threads with titles such as “OMG! If you use UE, you’re banned! WTF?!”, so clearly something is afoot.

At this point, I usually offer my opinions or personal slant on the topic at hand, and it is immediately interpreted by the majority of readers as “high-handed”, “egotistical”, and even “self-righteous”. Pardon me while I take the unique approach, and consider my own opinions to be correct. I guess I just assumed that everyone felt that way about their own opinions. It is difficult, believe it or not, to actually write about something you don’t believe in. That aside, here’s my opinion. The views of cheaters, exploiters, and players previously banned from Ultima Online can be read in the discussion thread within the hour:

Playing by the rules is HARD, and for users who don’t always “get the joke” (*cough Sinij cough*), I use all caps to emphasize sarcasm. Ultima Online is a game of competition, by virtue of it’s multiplayer capacity. You may not play it for direct competition, but the competition is always there, compelling you to keep working that skill until you reach grandmaster status. To those who can do this by the rules, in fair competition, you’ve won. To those who reach the goal line by cheating their way through the race, you are not winners. You are a status somewhere below “loser”, and you know it. You know that you cannot compete, and your sense of inadequacy is what compels you to find the “easy gimmick”. You will find that the rules will ever be modified and strictly enforced upon you. It will seem like the officials are bearing down on you – they are, and they should.

In the real world, cheating in competition will result in an expulsion, and can sometimes be criminal. If you can learn that lesson by being banned from a game, consider yourself one step ahead of your fellow crooks.

In the meantime, I’ll be camping outside your villa.